The direct and indirect costs of suspected human rabies exposure were estimated for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, California, USA. Clinic, hospital, and county public health records (1998–2002) were examined to determine direct costs for postexposure prophylaxis (PEP), and 55 (41%) former patients were contacted to voluntarily provide estimates of their indirect costs associated with receiving PEP. Additional costs due to public health and animal control personnel responses to rabid animals were collected, including diagnostic testing and wages. The mean total cost of a suspected human rabies exposure was $3,688, the direct costs per case were $2,564, and the indirect costs were $1,124 of that total. About one third of the total cost for suspected human rabies exposure was attributed to indirect costs (e.g., lost wages, transportation, and day-care fees), most of which were not reimbursable to the patient.
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Vol. 43 • No. 2