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Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2017

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  • 1 Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.
  • | 2 Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.
  • | 3 Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.
  • | 4 Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.
  • | 5 Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.
  • | 6 Wildlife Services, APHIS, USDA, 59 Chenell Dr, Ste 7, Concord, NH 03301.
  • | 7 Wildlife Services, APHIS, USDA, 59 Chenell Dr, Ste 7, Concord, NH 03301.
  • | 8 Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.
  • | 9 Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.
  • | 10 Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To describe rabies and rabies-related events occurring during 2017 in the United States.

DESIGN Cross-sectional analysis of passive surveillance data.

ANIMALS All animals submitted for laboratory diagnosis of rabies in the United States during 2017.

PROCEDURES State and territorial public health departments provided data on animals submitted for rabies testing in 2017. Data were analyzed temporally and geographically to assess trends in domestic and sylvatic animal rabies cases.

RESULTS During 2017, 52 jurisdictions reported 4,454 rabid animals to the CDC, representing a 9.3% decrease from the 4,910 rabid animals reported in 2016. Of the 4,454 cases of animal rabies, 4,055 (91.0%) involved wildlife species. Relative contributions by the major animal groups were as follows: 1,433 (32.2%) bats, 1,275 (28.6%) raccoons, 939 (21.1%) skunks, 314 (7.0%) foxes, 276 (6.2%) cats, 62 (1.4%) dogs, and 36 (0.8%) cattle. There was a 0.4% increase in the number of samples submitted for testing in 2017, compared with the number submitted in 2016. Two human rabies deaths were reported in 2017, compared with none in 2016.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE The overall number of reported cases of animal rabies has decreased over time. Laboratory testing of animals suspected to be rabid remains a critical public health function and continues to be a cost-effective method to directly influence human rabies postexposure prophylaxis recommendations.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To describe rabies and rabies-related events occurring during 2017 in the United States.

DESIGN Cross-sectional analysis of passive surveillance data.

ANIMALS All animals submitted for laboratory diagnosis of rabies in the United States during 2017.

PROCEDURES State and territorial public health departments provided data on animals submitted for rabies testing in 2017. Data were analyzed temporally and geographically to assess trends in domestic and sylvatic animal rabies cases.

RESULTS During 2017, 52 jurisdictions reported 4,454 rabid animals to the CDC, representing a 9.3% decrease from the 4,910 rabid animals reported in 2016. Of the 4,454 cases of animal rabies, 4,055 (91.0%) involved wildlife species. Relative contributions by the major animal groups were as follows: 1,433 (32.2%) bats, 1,275 (28.6%) raccoons, 939 (21.1%) skunks, 314 (7.0%) foxes, 276 (6.2%) cats, 62 (1.4%) dogs, and 36 (0.8%) cattle. There was a 0.4% increase in the number of samples submitted for testing in 2017, compared with the number submitted in 2016. Two human rabies deaths were reported in 2017, compared with none in 2016.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE The overall number of reported cases of animal rabies has decreased over time. Laboratory testing of animals suspected to be rabid remains a critical public health function and continues to be a cost-effective method to directly influence human rabies postexposure prophylaxis recommendations.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Ms. Ma (HJV4@cdc.gov).

This article has not undergone external peer review.