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Abstract

Objective—To evaluate epidemiologic features of rabies virus variants in dogs and cats in the United States during 1999 and assess the role of bat-associated variants.

Design—Epidemiologic survey.

Sample Population—Rabies viruses from 78 dogs and 230 cats.

Procedure—Brain specimens from rabid dogs and cats were submitted for typing of rabies virus. Historical information, including ownership and vaccination status, was obtained for each animal. Specimens were typed by use of indirect fluorescent antibody assay or reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assay and nucleotide sequence analysis.

Results—Nearly all animals were infected with the predicted terrestrial rabies virus variant associated with the geographic location of the submission. A batassociated variant of rabies virus was found in a single cat from Maryland. More than half (53%) of submitted animals were classified as owned animals, and most had no known history of vaccination. One vaccination failure was reported in a dog that did not receive a booster dose of rabies vaccine after exposure to a possibly rabid animal.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Bat-associated rabies virus variants were not a common cause of rabies in dogs and cats during 1999. Vaccine failures were uncommon during the study period. Because most rabid dogs and cats were unvaccinated and were owned animals rather than strays, educational campaigns targeting owners may be useful. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:1939–1942)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary

In 1989, 4,808 cases of rabies in animals other than human beings were reported to the Centers for Disease Control, 1.8% more (4,724 to 4,808) than in 1988. Eighty-eight percent (4,224/4,808) of those affected were wild animals and 12% (584/4,808) were domestic animals. Cases were reported from 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico; Hawaii remained rabies-free. Skunks (1,657) continued to be the most commonly reported rabid wild animal. For the second consecutive year, more cats (212) were reported to be infected with rabies virus than any other domestic species. Compared with their 1988 reports, 5 states reported increases of greater than 100% (Alaska, 109%; New Jersey, 233%; Ohio, 133%; Oklahoma, 168%; and Washington, 125%), and 5 states reported decreases of greater than 50% (Connecticut, 63%; Mississippi, 56%; Montana, 67%; Nevada, 55%; and West Virginia, 53%) in 1989.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary

In 1997, 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico reported 8,509 cases of rabies in nonhuman animals and 4 cases in human beings to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 93% (7,899) were wild animals, whereas 7% (610) were domestic species. The total number of reported cases increased 19.4% from that of 1996 (7,128 cases). Increases were apparent in each of the major species groups, with the exception of cattle. The relative contributions of these groups to the total reported for 1997 were as follows: raccoons (50.5%; 4,300 cases), skunks (24.0%; 2,040), bats (11.3%; 958), foxes (5.3%; 448), cats (3.5%; 300), dogs (1.5%; 126), and cattle (1.4%; 122). The 958 cases of rabies reported in bats represented a 29.3% increase over the total reported for 1996 and the greatest number reported since 1984, with cases reported by 46 of the 48 contiguous states. The epizootic of rabies in raccoons expanded into Ohio in 1997 and now includes 19 states and the District of Columbia. Thirteen states, where rabies in raccoons is enzootic, reported increases over 1996 in total numbers of reported cases. Among these, New York (1,264 cases), North Carolina (879), Virginia (690), and Maryland (619) reported the greatest numbers of cases. Five states reported increases that exceeded 50%, compared with cases reported in 1996: Ohio (673.3%; 15 cases in 1996 to 116 in 1997), Massachusetts (144.3%; 115 to 281), South Carolina (97.9%; 96 to 190), Connecticut (97.4%; 274 to 541), and Maine (86.3%; 131 to 244). Cases of rabies associated with foci of rabies in foxes in west central Texas and in dogs and coyotes in southern Texas continued to decline, with this state reporting 78.3% fewer rabid foxes (13 cases), 26.7% fewer rabid dogs (11), and 63.2% fewer rabid coyotes (7) during 1997, compared with 1996. Reported cases of rabies in cats (300) and dogs (126) increased 12.8% and 13.5%, respectively, whereas cases in cattle (122) decreased by 6.9%. Thirty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico reported increases in rabies in animals during 1997, compared with decreases reported by 31 states and the District of Columbia in 1996. One state (Mississippi; 5 cases) remained unchanged. Hawaii was the only state that did not report a case of rabies in 1997. Four indigenously acquired cases of rabies reported in human beings were the result of infection with rabies virus variants associated with bats.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

During 1998, 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico reported 7,961 cases of rabies in nonhuman animals and 1 case in a human being to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a decrease of 6.5% from 8,509 cases in nonhuman animals and 4 cases in human beings reported in 1997. More than 92% (7,358 cases) were in wild animals, whereas > 7.5% (603 cases) were in domestic species (compared with 93% in wild animals and 7% in domestic species in 1997). Decreases were evident in all of the major contributing species groups, with the exception of skunks and bats. The relative contributions of the major groups to the total reported for 1998 were raccoons (44.0%; 3,502 cases), skunks (28.5%; 2,272), bats (12.5%; 992), foxes (5.5%; 435), cats (3.5%; 282), cattle (1.5%; 116), and dogs (11.5%; 113). No further discernable westward extension of the epizootic of rabies in raccoons in Ohio was reported. Twelve of the 19 states enzootic for the raccoon variant of the rabies virus and the District of Columbia reported decreased numbers of cases of rabies during 1998, compared with 13 states and the District of Columbia that reported increases during 1997. Three states, Rhode Island (143.2%), Massachusetts (77.2%), and New Hampshire (69.4%), reported increases of > 50% during 1998, compared with totals reported for 1997. In Texas, the number of cases of rabies associated with enzootic canine variants of the rabies virus remained greatly diminished; however, overall totals of reported cases of rabies increased in Texas and 12 other states where skunks are the major terrestrial reservoir of rabies. At the national level, the total of 82 reported cases of rabies among horses and mules was greater than that reported for any year since 1981 (88 cases) and represented a 74.5% increase, compared with the total for 1997. The 992 cases of rabies reported in bats during 1998 were the greatest proportionate contribution by bats since 1990. Reported cases of rabies in cats (282), dogs (113), and cattle (116) decreased 6.0%, 10.3%, and 4.9%, respectively. One indigenously acquired case of rabies reported in a human being during 1998 was the result of infection with a rabies virus variant associated with silver-haired and eastern pipistrelle bats.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary

In 1996, 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico reported 7,124 cases of rabies in non-human animals and 4 cases in human beings to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 92% (6,550 cases) were wild animals, whereas 8% (574 cases) were domestic species. The total number of reported cases decreased 9.6% from that of 1995 (7,881 cases). Although much of the decline was the result of fewer reported cases of rabies in raccoons, fewer cases were also reported among most groups of animals. Numbers of cases associated with separate epizootics of rabies in foxes in west central Texas and in dogs and coyotes in southern Texas attributable to canine variants have declined, with 56.2% fewer rabid foxes (60), 72.7% fewer rabid dogs (15), and 76.3% fewer rabid coyotes (19) during 1996, compared with cases of rabies reported among these same species during 1995. Nationally, the number of reported rabid bats (741) decreased 5.8%, with cases reported by 46 of the 48 contiguous states. Four Eastern Seaboard states, enzootic for the raccoon variant of the rabies virus, reported noteworthy increases in total numbers of reported cases: Maine (29.7%; 101 cases in 1995 to 131 in 1996), Maryland (44.2%; 441 to 636), North Carolina (59.0%; 466 to 741), and Virginia (33.3%; 459 to 612). Increases were also reported by Florida (6.4%; 251 to 267) and Georgia (3.1 %; 294 to 303). Cats continued to be the domestic animal most frequently reported rabid, but reported cases of rabies in cats (266), cattle (131), and dogs (111) decreased by 7.6%, 3.7%, and 24.0%, respectively. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia reported decreases in rabies in animals during 1996, compared with 18 states and Puerto Rico in 1995. Hawaii was the only state that did not report a case of rabies in 1996. Two indigenously acquired cases of rabies reported in human beings were the result of infection with rabies virus variants associated with bats, whereas the remaining 2 human rabies infections were acquired outside the United States, and the variants identified were consistent with those associated with rabid dogs.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary

In 1993, 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico reported 9,495 cases of rabies in nonhuman animals and 3 cases in human beings to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Greater than 93% (8,889 cases) were wild animals, whereas 6.4% (606 cases) were domestic species. The total number of reported cases increased 9.9% over that of 1992 (8,645 cases), with most of the increase resulting from continued spread of rabies in raccoons (37.1% increase in reported cases over 1992). The 2 epizootics of rabies in raccoons (Northeastern/mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions) approach convergence in North Carolina (106 cases of rabies in 1993, compared with 49 in 1992). Maine, Rhode Island, and Vetmont remained the only New England states without reported cases associated with the raccoon variant of the rabies virus. New York reported 2,747 cases of rabies, the largest number of cases ever reported during a single year by any state. Increases in reported cases of rabies in Texas and 8 other geographically dispersed states were attributed mainly to larger numbers of reported cases of rabies in bats. Texas reported 71 of the 74 cases in coyotes during 1993 (70 of 75 cases in 1992). Nationally, reported cases of rabies in dogs (130) and cattle (130) each decreased by 29% in 1993, whereas cats (291 cases in 1993, compared with 290 in 1992) continued to be the domestic animal most frequently reported rabid. Twenty-two states and Puerto Rico reported decreases in rabies in animals in 1993, compared with 20 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico in 1992. Hawaii was the only state that did not report a case of rabies in 1993.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary

In 1995, 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico reported 7,877 cases of rabies in nonhuman animals and 4 cases in human beings to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 92% (7,247 cases) were wild animals, whereas 8% (630 cases) were domestic species. The total number of reported cases decreased 4.2% from that of 1994 (8,230 cases). Most of the decline was the result of 17.1% fewer reported cases of rabies in raccoons in areas of the Northeast, where rabies is now enzootic rather than epizootic. Exceptions to this decline were detected in states where the virus has only recently entered raccoon populations or where ongoing epizootics persist. States experiencing increasing epizootic activity associated with this variant include Maine (3 cases in 1993 to 101 cases in 1995), North Carolina (9 cases in 1990 to 466 cases in 1995), Rhode Island (1 case in 1993 to 324 cases in 1995), and Vermont (45 cases in 1993 to 179 cases in 1995). The raccoon variant of the rabies virus is now present in Alabama, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia, and all Atlantic Seaboard states from Florida to Maine. In Ohio, this variant, last detected in 1992 as a single case, was again detected in 1996. Epizootics of rabies in foxes in west central Texas and in dogs and coyotes in southern Texas attributable to canine variants continue, with this state reporting 137 rabid foxes, 55 rabid dogs, and 80 of the 83 cases in coyotes during 1995. The number of rabid bats (787) increased by almost 25%, with cases reported by 47 of the 48 contiguous states. Nationally, reported cases of rabies in cattle (136) and cats (288) increased by 22.5 and 7.9%, respectively, whereas cases in dogs (146) decreased by 4.6%. Cats continued to be the domestic animal most frequently reported rabid. The cases of rabies reported in human beings were all caused by viral variants associated with bats. Eighteen states and Puerto Rico reported decreases in rabies in animals in 1995, compared with 28 states and the District of Columbia in 1994. Hawaii was the only state that did not report a case of rabies in 1995.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary

In 1994, 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico reported 8,224 cases of rabies in nonhuman animals and 6 cases in human beings to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 93% (7,632 cases) were wild animals, whereas 7% (592 cases) were domestic species. The total number of reported cases decreased 13.4% from that of 1993 (9,498 cases), with most of the decline resulting from 19.2% fewer cases of rabies in raccoons. Two previously described epizootics of rabies involving the raccoon variant of the rabies virus have converged in North Carolina, and the resulting region is now continuous from Alabama and Florida in the South to Maine in the North. Epizootics of rabies in foxes in west central Texas and in dogs and coyotes in southern Texas continue to expand, with this state reporting 144 rabid foxes, 53 rabid dogs, and 77 of the 85 cases in coyotes during 1994. Maine and New Hampshire reported cases of rabies in foxes (6 and 9, respectively) for the first time in 10 years. Nationally, reported cases of rabies in dogs (153) increased by 17.7%, whereas cases in cattle (111) and cats (267) decreased by 14.6 and 8.3%, respectively. Cats continued to be the domestic animal most frequently reported rabid. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia reported decreases in rabies in animals in 1994, compared with 22 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico in 1993. Hawaii and Nebraska were the only states that did not report cases of rabies in 1994.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary

Prior to 1988, rabies was reported only sporadically in coyotes. However, in the final 4 months of 1988, Starr County, Tex, which is situated on the US-Mexico border, experienced an epizootic of canine rabies, consisting of 6 laboratory-confirmed cases of rabies in coyotes and of 2 cases in domestic dogs. The first 3 cases were detected in coyotes, and the first case in a domestic dog was observed 84 days after the index case. Adjacent Hidalgo County reported 9 cases of rabies in dogs during the same time that rabid dogs were being reported in Starr County. In 1989, the epizootic primarily involved dogs: 15 dogs in Starr County and 19 dogs in Hidalgo County. Five rabid coyotes were reported in Starr County in 1989, and 1 rabid coyote was reported from Hidalgo County. In 1990, rabies was reported in 3 coyotes and in 31 dogs in Starr County; cases were not detected in Hidalgo County. During 1991, the epizootic expanded approximately 160 km northward, resulting in laboratory-confirmed cases in 42 coyotes and 25 dogs in 10 counties. In 1992, Webb and Willacy Counties became involved; 70 rabid coyotes and 41 rabid dogs were reported in 1992 from the 12-county area. During the first 6 months of 1993, there were 31 rabid coyotes and 38 rabid dogs reported from the same 12 south Texas counties. In May 1993, a raccoon infected with the canine rabies ecotype was reported from Cameron County. Antigenic and genetic analysis revealed the virus ecotype affecting dogs and coyotes to be that associated with urban canine rabies along the US-Mexico border.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association