A common rabies vaccine for humans is being recalled in 24 countries after a live strain of the virus was found in some samples made at the same time.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said testing of Aventis Pasteur's IMOVAX vaccine uncovered the presence of a live Pittman-Moore strain of the rabies virus, when the drug should not contain live virus.
While the tested lot of the vaccine was never distributed for public use, Aventis recalled four other lots in the United States because they were made during the same time as the faulty lot.
The CDC said although it was unlikely that anyone who received rabies shots from the recalled lots could have been exposed to the live form of the Pittman-Moore virus, "a theoretical possibility exists."
As a result, the CDC has recommended that people who have taken recalled rabies shots receive additional shots of the vaccine that have not been recalled.
Company officials said the recalled lots, X0667-2, X0667-3, W1419-2 and W1419-3, were distributed between September 23rd and Friday.
Twenty-one other lots were being recalled in 23 other countries, according to information from the vaccine manufacturer posted today on ProMed-mail, a Web site for infectious disease doctors.
The CDC said those recalled lots did pass quality tests.
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