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Human Rabies

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. All human cases in the United States since 1995 are summarized in the Table of Human Rabies Cases from 1995-2011 (see table below). The case histories (if published) of the ten most recent cases can be found using the links below:

Cases of Rabies in Human Beings in the United States, by Circumstances of Exposure and Rabies Virus Variant, 1995-2011
Date of DeathState of ResidenceExposure History*Rabies Virus Variant†
March 15, 1995WAUnknown#Bat, Msp
September 21, 1995CAUnknown#Bat, Tb
October 3, 1995CTUnknown#Bat, Ln/Ps
November 9, 1995CAUnknown#Bat, Ln/Ps
February 8, 1996FLDog bite - MexicoDog, Mexico
August 20, 1996NHDog bite - NepalDog, SE Asia
October 15, 1996KYUnknownBat, Ln/Ps
December 19, 1996MTUnknownBat, Ln/Ps
January 5, 1997MTUnknown#Bat, Ln/Ps
January 18, 1997WAUnknown#Bat, Ef
October 17, 1997TXUnknown#Bat, Ln/Ps
October 23, 1997NJUnknown#Bat, Ln/Ps
December 31, 1998VAUnknownBat, Ln/Ps
September 20, 2000CAUnknown#Bat, Tb
October 9, 2000NYDog bite - GhanaDog, Africa
October 10, 2000GAUnknown#Bat, Tb
October 25, 2000MNBat bite - MNBat, Ln/Ps
November 1, 2000WIUnknown#Bat, Ln/Ps
February 4, 2001CAUnknown# - PhilippinesDog, Philippines
March 31, 2002CAUnknown#Bat, Tb
August 31, 2002TNUnknown#Bat, Ln/Ps
September 28, 2002IAUnknown#Bat, Ln/Ps
March 10, 2003VAUnknown#Raccoon, Eastern US
June 5, 2003PRBiteDog/Mongoose, Puerto Rico
September 14, 2003CABiteBat, Ln/Ps
February 15, 2004FLBiteDog, Hati
May 3, 2004ARBite (organ donor)Bat, Tb
June 7, 2004OKLiver transplant recipientBat, Tb
June 9, 2004TXKidney transplant recipientBat, Tb
June 10, 2004TXArterial transplant recipientBat, Tb
June 21, 2004TXKidney transplant recipientBat, Tb
Survived, 2004WIUnknown#Bat, Unknown
October 26, 2004CAUnknown#Dog, El Salvador
September 27, 2005MSUnknown#Bat, Unknown
May 12, 2006TXUnknown#Bat, Tb
November 2, 2006INBiteBat, Ln/Ps
December 14, 2006CABiteDog, Philippines
October 20, 2007MNBiteBat, Unknown
March 18, 2008CABite-MexicoFox, Tb-related
November 30, 2008MOBiteBat, Ln/Ps
Survived, 2009TXUnknown#Bat, Unknown
October 20, 2009INUnknown#Bat, Ps
November 11, 2009MIUnknown#Bat, Ln/Ps
November 20, 2009VABiteDog, India
August 21, 2010LABiteBat, Mexico, Ds
January 10, 2011WIUnknownBat, Ps
Survived, 2011CAUnknownUnknown
July 20, 2011NJBiteDog, Haiti
August 31, 2011NYBiteDog, Afghanistan

* Data for exposure history are reported only when the biting animal was available and tested positive for rabies; or when plausible information was reported directly by the patient (if lucid or credible); or when a reliable account of an incident consistent with rabies exposure (e.g., dog bite) was reported by an independent witness (usually a family member).

# In some instances where the exposure history is unknown, there may have been known or inferred interaction which, especially for bats, could have involved an unrecognized bite.

† Variants of the rabies virus associated with terrestrial animals in the United States are identified with the name of the reservoir animal (dog or dog/coyote in all cases shown) followed by the name of the most definitive geographic entity (usually the country) from which the variant has been identified. Variants of the rabies virus associated with bats are identified with the name(s) of the species of bat(s) in which they have been found to be circulating. Because information regarding the location of the exposure and the identity of the exposing animal are almost always retrospective, and much information is frequently unavailable, the location of the exposure and the identity of the animal responsible for the infection are often limited to deduction.

Ln/Ps=Lasionycteris noctivagans or Pipistrellus subflavus, the silver-haired bat or the eastern pipistrelle; Msp=Myotis, species unknown; Tb=Tadarida brasiliensis, the Brazilian (Mexican) free-tailed bat; Ef=Eptesicus fuscus, the big brown bat; Ds=Desmodus rotundus, the vampire bat.

Annual Surveillance Reports in the United States

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