Is Rabies in your State?
Each year, scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collect information about cases of animal and human rabies from the state health departments and publish the information in a summary report. The most recent report, entitled "Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2013 [PDF -756KB]," contains the epidemiologic information on rabies during 2013. Below is a brief summary of the surveillance information for 2013, including maps showing the distribution of rabies in the United States.
In 2013, 49 states and Puerto Rico claimed 5,865 cases of rabies in animals and 3 human rabies cases to CDC. The total number of reported cases decreased by approximately 5% from those reported in 2012 (6,162 rabid animals).
Wild animal surveillance
Wild animals accounted for 92% of reported cases of rabies in 2013. Raccoons continued to be the most frequently reported rabid wildlife species (32.3% of all animal cases during 2013), followed by bats (27.2%), skunks (24.6%), and foxes (5.9%).
Domestic animal surveillance
Domestic species accounted for 8% of all rabid animals reported in the United States in 2013. The number of reported rabid domestic animals decreased among all domestic species except cats.
Human rabies surveillance
In this century, the number of human deaths in the United States attributed to rabies has declined from 100 or more each year to an average of 2 or 3 each year. Two programs have been responsible for this decline. First, animal control and vaccination programs begun in the 1940's and oral rabies vaccination programs in the 2000's have eliminated domestic dogs as reservoirs of rabies in the United States. Second, effective human rabies vaccines and immunoglobulins have been developed.
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