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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2007 Aug 15;231(4):540-56.

Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2006.

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Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-borne, and Enteric Diseases, Coordinating Center for Infectious Disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.


During 2006, 49 states and Puerto Rico reported 6,940 cases of rabies in animals and 3 cases in humans to the CDC, representing an 8.2% increase from the 6,417 cases in animals and 1 case in a human reported in 2005. Approximately 92% of the cases were in wildlife, and 8% were in domestic animals. Relative contributions by the major animal groups were as follows: 2,615 raccoons (37.7%), 1,692 bats (24.4%), 1,494 skunks (21.5%), 427 foxes (6.2%), 318 cats (4.6%), 82 cattle (1.2%), and 79 dogs (1.1%). Compared with numbers of reported cases in 2005, cases in 2006 increased among all groups except cattle. Increases in numbers of rabid raccoons during 2006 were reported by 11 of the 20 eastern states where raccoon rabies was enzootic, and reported cases increased by 3.2% overall, compared with 2005. On a national level, the number of rabies cases in skunks during 2006 increased by 6.1% from the number reported in 2005. Once again, Texas reported the greatest number (n = 351) of rabid skunks and the greatest overall state total of animal rabies cases (889). No cases of rabies associated with the dog/coyote rabies virus variant were reported. The last identified case of this canine rabies virus variant was identified in March 2004, along the US/Mexico border. With 2006 marking the second year of no apparent transmission of the dog/coyote variant, these findings from surveillance data support the contention that the canine rabies virus variant is no longer in circulation in the United States. Total number of cases of rabies reported nationally in foxes increased 13.6%, compared with 2005. Increases in the number of reported rabid foxes were attributable to greater numbers of foxes reported with the Arctic fox rabies virus variant in Alaska, the Texas gray fox rabies virus variant in Texas, and the raccoon rabies virus variant in Virginia. The 1,692 cases of rabies reported in bats represented a 14.5% increase, compared with numbers reported in 2005, making bats the second most reported rabid animal behind raccoons. Cases of rabies in cats, dogs, horses and mules, and sheep and goats increased 18.2%, 3.9%, 12.8%, and 22.2%, respectively, whereas cases reported in cattle decreased 11.8%. In Puerto Rico, reported cases of rabies in mongooses increased 9.2%, and rabies in domestic animals, presumably attributable to spillover infection from mongooses, increased 20%. Three cases of human rabies were reported from Texas, Indiana, and California during 2006. The cases in Indiana and Texas were attributed to bat rabies virus variants, whereas the case in California was attributed to an exposure to a dog in the Philippines.

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