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

Abstract

Objective—To describe surveillance trends and epidemiologic features of rabies in bats in the United States, focusing on 3 bat species primarily associated with variants of the rabies virus that affect humans.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—31,380 bats.

Procedure—Data on rabies for bats identified to species and reported by state laboratories from 1993 to 2000 were analyzed, focusing on silver-haired, eastern pipistrelle, and Brazilian free-tailed bats. Categoric variables were derived from other provided information.

Results—Data were reported from 37 states during the study interval; complete species-specific data were not reported by any state for the entire interval. Bats primarily associated with rabies virus variants affecting humans were more likely to yield positive test results for rabies (22.7%), compared with all other bats (5.5%) in most seasons and from most regions of the United States. However, certain other bat species had higher percentages of positive results. Risk of positive results was highest in the fall and highest among bats originating in the southwestern United States.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Increased risk of rabies among certain groups of bat species was consistently found across seasons and most geographic regions of the United States. Results were in general agreement with those of previous studies conducted within smaller geographic regions. There are ongoing efforts to improve surveillance of rabies in bats, although surveillance is incomplete in some regions. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222: 633–639)

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

Summary

In 1992, 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico reported 8,644 cases of rabies in nonhuman animals and 1 case in a human being to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost 92% (7,912 cases) were wild animals, the largest number of wild animals ever reported, whereas 8.5% (732 cases) were domestic species. The total number of reported cases increased 23.9% over that of 1991 (6,975 cases), with most of the increase resulting from continued spread of rabies in raccoons. The 2 epizootics of rabies in raccoons (Northeastern/mid-Atlantic region and Southeastern region) are now approachig convergence in North Carolina (49 reported cases of rabies in 1992). Massachusetts (57 cases), New York City (41 cases), and New Hampshire (10 cases) became new additions to the epizootic in the Northeast, with Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont the only states in the region without cases associated with the raccoon strain of rabies. The state of New York (including New York City) reported 1,761 cases (79% in raccoons) of rabies, the largest number ever recorded for any state. Increases attributable to epizootics of rabies in other species were reported by Alaska (25 cases in 1992, compared with 12 in 1991 mainly attributable to rabies in foxes) and Kansas (374 cases in 1992, compared with 63 in 1991, mainly attributable to rabies in skunks). Reported cases of rabies in coyotes (75) increased 50% over those for 1991 (50 cases). In the southern portion of Texas (reporting 70 of the 75 cases in coyotes), there was a similar increase (55%) in reported cases of rabies in dogs, whereas nationally, reported cases of rabies in dogs (182) increased 17%. Twenty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico reported decreases in rabies in animals in 1992, compared with 16 states in 1991. Hawaii was the only state that did not report a case of rabies in 1992.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether dogs in New York, NY are naturally infected with Rickettsia akari, the causative agent of rickettsialpox in humans.

Design—Serologic survey.

Animals—311 dogs.

Procedure—Serum samples were obtained from dogs as a part of a study on Rocky Mountain spotted fever and borreliosis or when dogs were examined at area veterinary clinics for routine care. Dog owners were asked to complete a questionnaire inquiring about possible risk factors at the time serum samples were obtained. Samples were tested for reactivity to spotted fever group rickettsiae by use of an enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Twenty-two samples for which results were positive were tested by use of an indirect immunofluorescence antibody (IFA) assay followed by confirmatory cross-absorption testing.

Results—Results of the EIA were positive for 24 (7.7%) dogs. A history of tick infestation and increasing age were significantly associated with whether dogs were seropositive. Distribution of seropositive dogs was focal. Seventeen of the 22 samples submitted for IFA testing had titers to R rickettsii and R akari; for 11 of these, titers to R akari were higher than titers to R rickettsii. Cross-absorption testing indicated that in 6 of 7 samples, infection was caused by R akari.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that dogs can be naturally infected with R akari. Further studies are needed to determine the incidence of R akari infection in dogs, whether infection is associated with clinical illness, and whether dogs can serve as sentinels for human disease. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:1780–1782)

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