Oct 02 2012

Rabies Cases in the USA During 2011

Rabies Cases in the USA During 2011

This information is taken from the summary of an article “Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2011” by Blanton, Dyer, McBrayer, and Rupprecht, published JAVMA (Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association) September 15th, 2012.

Summary – During 2011, 49 states and Puerto Rico reported 6,031 rabid animals and six human rabies cases to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), representing a 1.9% decrease from the 6,153 rabid animals and two human cases reported in 2010. Approximately 92% of reported rabid animals were wildlife. Relative contributions by the major animal groups were as follows: 1,981 raccoons (32.8%), 1,627 skunks (27.0%), 1,380 bats (22.9%), 427 foxes (7.1%), 303 cats (5.0%), 65 cattle (1.1%), and 70 dogs (1.2%), Compared with 2010, there was a substantial increase in the number of rabid skunks reported. Six cases of rabies involving humans were reported from California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and South Carolina. Three cases reported from Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York were determined to be a result of canine rabies virus variants acquired outside the United States.”

In Illinois the bat is the number one animal for rabies, however, there was a case in cattle this year. As you can see there is a wide range of animals that are affected but it varies by geographic location. It is also interesting to note that there are more cases of rabies in cats than dogs. So definitely be cautious around feral cats and if bitten, seek medical care. This data also emphasizes the importance of keeping your pets up to date with their rabies vaccination, so they can be protected in the case of a chance encounter with a rabid animal. Do not think that because one animal in your area is rabid that other types of animals are safe. Please take all precautions when encountering wildlife, especially wildlife that is acting strangely.

Peter S. Sakas DVM

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