Public Veterinary Medicine: Public Health: Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2018

Xiaoyue Ma 1Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.

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Ben P. Monroe 1Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.

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Julie M. Cleaton 1Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.
2Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, 1299 Bethel Valley Rd, Oak Ridge, TN 37830.

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Lillian A. Orciari 1Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.

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Crystal M. Gigante 1Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.

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Jordona D. Kirby 3Wildlife Services, APHIS, USDA, 59 Chenell Dr, Ste 7, Concord, NH 03301.

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Richard B. Chipman 3Wildlife Services, APHIS, USDA, 59 Chenell Dr, Ste 7, Concord, NH 03301.

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Christine Fehlner-Gardiner 4Center of Expertise for Rabies, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 3851 Fallowfield Rd, Nepean, ON K2J 4S1, Canada

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Veronica Gutiérrez Cedillo 5Centro Nacional de Programas Preventivos y Control de Enfermedades, Secretaria de Salud de Mexico, Avenida Benjamín Franklin 132, Escandón II Secc, 11800 Miguel Hidalgo, CDMX, Mexico.

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Brett W. Petersen 1Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.

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Victoria Olson 1Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.

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Ryan M. Wallace 1Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To describe rabies and rabies-related events occurring during 2018 in the United States.

ANIMALS

All animals submitted for laboratory diagnosis of rabies in the United States during 2018.

PROCEDURES

State and territorial public health departments provided data on animals submitted for rabies testing in 2018. Data were analyzed temporally and geographically to assess trends in domestic animal and wildlife rabies cases.

RESULTS

During 2018, 54 jurisdictions reported 4,951 rabid animals to the CDC, representing an 11.2% increase from the 4,454 rabid animals reported in 2017. Texas (n = 695 [14.0%]), Virginia (382 [7.7%]), Pennsylvania (356 [7.2%]), North Carolina (332 [6.7%]), Colorado (328 [6.6%]), and New York (320 [6.5%]) together accounted for almost half of all rabid animals reported in 2018. Of the total reported rabies cases, 4,589 (92.7%) involved wildlife, with bats (n = 1,635 [33.0%]), raccoons (1,499 [30.3%]), skunks (1,004 [20.3%]), and foxes (357 [7.2%]) being the major species. Rabid cats (n = 241 [4.9%]) and dogs (63 [1.3%]) accounted for > 80% of rabid domestic animals reported in 2018. There was a 4.6% increase in the number of samples submitted for testing in 2018, compared with the number submitted in 2017. Three human rabies deaths were reported in 2018, compared with 2 in 2017.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

The overall number of animal rabies cases increased from 2017 to 2018. Laboratory diagnosis of rabies in animals is critical to ensure that human rabies postexposure prophylaxis is administered judiciously.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To describe rabies and rabies-related events occurring during 2018 in the United States.

ANIMALS

All animals submitted for laboratory diagnosis of rabies in the United States during 2018.

PROCEDURES

State and territorial public health departments provided data on animals submitted for rabies testing in 2018. Data were analyzed temporally and geographically to assess trends in domestic animal and wildlife rabies cases.

RESULTS

During 2018, 54 jurisdictions reported 4,951 rabid animals to the CDC, representing an 11.2% increase from the 4,454 rabid animals reported in 2017. Texas (n = 695 [14.0%]), Virginia (382 [7.7%]), Pennsylvania (356 [7.2%]), North Carolina (332 [6.7%]), Colorado (328 [6.6%]), and New York (320 [6.5%]) together accounted for almost half of all rabid animals reported in 2018. Of the total reported rabies cases, 4,589 (92.7%) involved wildlife, with bats (n = 1,635 [33.0%]), raccoons (1,499 [30.3%]), skunks (1,004 [20.3%]), and foxes (357 [7.2%]) being the major species. Rabid cats (n = 241 [4.9%]) and dogs (63 [1.3%]) accounted for > 80% of rabid domestic animals reported in 2018. There was a 4.6% increase in the number of samples submitted for testing in 2018, compared with the number submitted in 2017. Three human rabies deaths were reported in 2018, compared with 2 in 2017.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

The overall number of animal rabies cases increased from 2017 to 2018. Laboratory diagnosis of rabies in animals is critical to ensure that human rabies postexposure prophylaxis is administered judiciously.

Contributor Notes

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