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MMWR CDC Surveill Summ. 1985;34(1):11SS-27SS.

Rabies in the United States and Canada, 1983.


Primarily as a result of organized canine rabies vaccination, leash laws, and other preventive procedures aimed at the canine population, the number of rabid dogs decreased markedly in the last thirty years (Figure 10). This decrease was accompanied by a similar marked reduction in human rabies (Table 2, Figure 11). As domestic animal rabies declined, rabies in wildlife increased. Since 1958 the number of cases of rabid wildlife surpassed domestic rabies cases, and today they account for over 85% of all reported rabies cases. In 1983, a total of 5,880 laboratory-confirmed cases of rabies in the United States and its territories were reported to CDC-a decline of 398 cases compared with 1982 (7) (Table 1). The total number of cases decreased for the second consecutive year. The 13% decline in 1982 was followed by a 6.4% decline in 1983. This decrease in cases, however, was not reported by all states. The four Mid-Atlantic states--Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia--and the District of Columbia actually experienced an 83% increase in cases. These states and the District of Columbia reported 1,903 cases in 1983 (compared with 1,040 cases in 1982) which accounted for approximately one-third (32.4%) of all rabies cases nationally.

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