Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content
CDC Home

Rabies -- United States, 1981

In 1981, there were 7,211 laboratory-confirmed cases of animal rabies reported in the United States and its territories (Guam, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands).

Forty-eight states and Puerto Rico reported rabid animals in 1981; only the District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Vermont, and Virgin Islands reported no cases.

Seven types of animals accounted for 97% of all reported cases: skunks, 4,480 (62.1%); bats, 858 (11.9%); raccoons, 481 (6.7%); cattle, 465 (6.4%); cats, 285 (4.0%); dogs, 216 (3.0%); and foxes, 195 (2.7%). Wild animals accounted for 85% of the reported cases, and domestic animals 15%. Two cases of human rabies were reported in 1981 (1,2).

Bats and skunks continue to be the most widely distributed vectors, with confirmed cases caused by these two species in 46 states and 32 states, respectively. Raccoon rabies has become well established and is spreading in areas of northern Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland (3). Virginia reported 102 cases of raccoon rabies in 1981, an increase of 1,350% over 1980 when seven cases were reported. West Virginia reported 22 cases of raccoon rabies in 1981, and Maryland reported six cases, all from a single county that borders on northern Virginia. Reported by Viral and Rickettsial Zoonoses Br, Div of Viral Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: Reports of documented animal rabies have more than doubled in the United States in the last 3 years: 3,298 cases for 1978 and 7,211 cases for 1981. In 1981, for the first time, rabid cats outnumbered rabid dogs--by 32%.

More cases of skunk rabies and bat rabies were reported in 1981 than ever before. This substantial upsurge in rabies activity underscores the importance of efforts aimed at prevention and control. Vaccination of pets and livestock is the most effective control measure in preventing disease and subsequent human exposure.

References

  1. CDC. Human rabies--Oklahoma. MMWR 1981;30:343-4,349.

  2. CDC. Human rabies acquired outside the United States from a dog bite. MMWR 1981;30:537-40.

  3. CDC. Rabies in raccoons--Virginia. MMWR 1981;30:353-5.



Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

References to non-CDC sites on the Internet are provided as a service to MMWR readers and do not constitute or imply endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CDC is not responsible for the content of pages found at these sites. URL addresses listed in MMWR were current as of the date of publication.


All MMWR HTML versions of articles are electronic conversions from typeset documents. This conversion might result in character translation or format errors in the HTML version. Users are referred to the electronic PDF version (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr) and/or the original MMWR paper copy for printable versions of official text, figures, and tables. An original paper copy of this issue can be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402-9371; telephone: (202) 512-1800. Contact GPO for current prices.

**Questions or messages regarding errors in formatting should be addressed to mmwrq@cdc.gov.

 
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
A-Z Index
  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #