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Wild Animals

Wild animals accounted for 92.6 percent of reported cases of rabies in 2014. Raccoons continued to be the most frequently reported rabid wildlife species (accounting for 30.2 percent of all animal cases during 2014), followed by bats (29.1 percent), skunks (26.3 percent), and foxes (4.1 percent).

The graph shows cases of rabies among wildlife reported in the United States by year and species from 1983 to 2014.

Cases of rabies among wildlife in the United States by year and species from 1983 to 2014.

Although cross-species transmission of rabies does occur (e.g. infection of domestic dogs with the raccoon rabies variant), rabies virus variants are primarily transmitted within a single species that is the reservoir of that variant. Rabies virus variants associated with the major mesocarnivore species (such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and mongooses) are distributed in distinct geographic regions.

Distribution U.S. map of major rabies virus variants among mesocarnivores in the United States and Puerto Rico from 2008 to 2014.

Distribution of major rabies virus variants among mesocarnivores in the United States and Puerto Rico from 2008 to 2014.

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