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Rabies Surveillance Data in the United States

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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 2010," contains the epidemiologic information on rabies during 2010. Below is a brief summary of the surveillance information for 2010, including maps showing the distribution of rabies in the United States.

In 2010, 48 states and Puerto Rico reported 6,153 cases of rabies in animals and 2 human cases to CDC (Hawaii is the only state that is rabies free). The total number of reported cases decreased by approximately 8.0% from those reported in 2009 (6,690 rabid animals and 4 human cases).

Wild animal surveillance

Wild animals accounted for 92% of reported cases of rabies in 2010. Raccoons continued to be the most frequently reported rabid wildlife species (36.5% of all animal cases during 2010), followed by skunks (23.5%), bats (23.2%), foxes (7.0%), and other wild animals, including rodents and lagomorphs (1.8%). Reported cases decreased among all wild animals during 2010.

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Domestic animal surveillance

Domestic species accounted for 8% of all rabid animals reported in the United States in 2010. The number of reported rabid domestic animals decreased among all domestic species except cats.

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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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