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Rabies in the United States in 2010

Blanton JD, Palmer D, Dyer J and Rupprecht CE. Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2010. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2011; 239: 773-83.

Rabies vaccination in El Salvador

Rabies continues to be a worldwide problem and an important public health concern. In the U.S., wildlife is the most important source of the causative virus, but spillover into domestic species does occur. This report summarizes the occurrences of rabies in the U.S. during 2010. During that year, 48 states and Puerto Rico reported 6,154 rabid animals and 2 human rabies cases to the Centers for Disease Control, representing an 8% decrease from the 6,690 rabid animals and 4 human cases reported in 2009. Hawaii and Mississippi did not report any laboratory-confirmed rabid animals during 2010. Approximately 92% of reported rabid animals were wildlife species. Relative contributions by the major animal groups were as follows: 2,246 raccoons (36.5%), 1,448 skunks (23.5%), 1,430 bats (23.2%), 429 foxes (6.9%), 303 cats (4.9%), 71 cattle (1.1%), and 69 dogs (1.1%). Interestingly, compared to 2009, rabies decreased in all species except cats, where there was a 1% increase. This reinforces the importance of vaccination of all cats against rabies. Two cases of rabies involving humans were reported from Louisiana and Wisconsin in 2010. Louisiana reported an imported human rabies case involving a 19-year-old male migrant farm worker who had a history of a vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) bite received while in Mexico. This represents the first human rabies case reported in the U.S. confirmed to have been caused by a vampire bat rabies virus variant. [MK]

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Compendium of animal rabies prevention and control, 2011. National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, Inc. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2011 Nov 4;60(RR-6):1-17. Free full text article.