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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2009 Mar 1;234(5):616-20. doi: 10.2460/javma.234.5.616.

Epidemiology of rabies in skunks in Texas.

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  • 1Texas Department of State Health Services, Zoonosis Control Branch, Austin, TX 78714-9347, USA.



To obtain epidemiologic information on rabies in skunks in Texas.


Epidemiologic study.


Reports of skunks that had been submitted for rabies testing in Texas from 1953 through 2007.


Reports were reviewed to obtain information on seasonality of rabies in skunks, seasonality of human and domestic animal exposure to rabid skunks, commonly reported clinical signs of rabies in skunks, domestic animals frequently exposed to rabid skunks, common scenarios for exposure of domestic animals to rabid skunks, disposition of domestic animals exposed to rabid skunks, age and gender of humans exposed to rabid skunks, and usual routes of exposure of humans to rabid skunks.


On a yearly basis, the number of rabid skunks peaked in 1961, 1979, and 2001. On a monthly basis, the number of rabid skunks peaked in March and April. Over the study period, the percentage of rabid skunks from urban areas increased and the percentage from rural areas decreased. Striped skunks were the most common species. Dogs and cats were the domestic animals most frequently exposed to rabid skunks. On average, the highest numbers of humans exposed to rabid skunks were between 36 and 50 years old. Most humans were exposed through means other than a bite. Typical behaviors of rabid skunks were entering a dog pen, appearing outside during daytime, and attacking pets.


Information on the epidemiology of rabies in skunks may be useful in planning and implementing local, state, and national rabies control and prevention campaigns.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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