What is the role of skin biopsy in the workup of rabies?

Updated: Jun 21, 2019
  • Author: Sandra G Gompf, MD, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
  • Print

Nuchal skin biopsy is the most reliable test of rabies infection during the first week. Results from nuchal skin punch biopsy for immunofluorescent antibody staining are 50% positive within the first week.

Obtain a full-thickness punch biopsy from the nape of the neck and include hair follicles. Place the specimen in a sterile container with saline-soaked sterile gauze, store it at -70°C, and obtain shipping instructions for a laboratory that performs the examination.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!