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Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION A female alpaca, kept at pasture with 12 other female alpacas, 2 crias, and 5 goats, was evaluated because of clinical signs of aggression.

CLINICAL FINDINGS The clinical signs of aggression progressed to include biting at other animals as well as disorientation. Three days later, the alpaca was euthanized because of suspicion of rabies virus infection.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME No physical injuries were found at necropsy. Brain tissue specimens were confirmed positive for rabies on the basis of direct fluorescent antibody test results. Molecular typing identified the rabies virus variant as one that is enzootic in raccoons. The farm was placed under quarantine, restricting movement of animals on and off the property for 6 months. To prevent further rabies cases, 14 alpacas (12 adults and 2 crias) were vaccinated by extralabel use of a large animal rabies vaccine. Of the 14 vaccinated alpacas, 8 had paired serum samples obtained immediately before and 21 days after vaccination; all 8 alpacas had adequate serum antirabies antibody production in response to rabies vaccination. As a result of an adequate serologic response, the quarantine was reduced to 3 months. In the year after the index rabies case, no other animals on the farm developed rabies.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE Extralabel use of rabies vaccines in camelids was used in the face of a public health investigation. This report provides an example of handling of a rabies case for future public health investigations, which will undoubtedly need to develop ad-hoc rabies vaccination recommendations on the basis of the unique characteristics of the event.

Restricted access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To describe rabies and rabies-related events occurring during 2015 in the United States.

DESIGN

Observational study based on passive surveillance data.

ANIMALS

All animals submitted for rabies testing in the United States during 2015.

PROCEDURES

State and territorial public health programs provided data on animals submitted for rabies testing in 2015. Data were analyzed temporally and geographically to assess trends in domestic and sylvatic animal rabies cases.

RESULTS

During 2015, 50 states and Puerto Rico reported 5,508 rabid animals to the CDC, representing an 8.7% decrease from the 6,033 rabid animals reported in 2014. Of the 5,508 cases of animal rabies, 5,088 (92.4%) involved wildlife. Relative contributions by the major animal groups were as follows: 1,704 (30.9%) bats, 1,619 (29.4%) raccoons, 1,365 (24.8%) skunks, 325 (5.9%) foxes, 244 (4.4%) cats, 85 (1.5%) cattle, and 67 (1.2%) dogs. There was a 4.1% decrease in the number of samples submitted for testing in 2015, compared with the number submitted in 2014. Three human rabies deaths were reported in 2015, compared with only 1 in 2014. A 65-year-old man in Massachusetts was bitten by a rabid dog while abroad. A 77-year-old woman in Wyoming had contact with a bat. A 54-year-old man in Puerto Rico was bitten by a mongoose. The only connection among these 3 cases was that none received postexposure prophylaxis.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

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. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2017;250:1117–1130)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To describe rabies and rabies-related events occurring during 2016 in the United States.

DESIGN Observational study based on passive surveillance data.

ANIMALS All animals submitted for rabies testing in the United States during 2016.

PROCEDURES State and territorial public health programs provided data on animals submitted for rabies testing in 2016. Data were analyzed temporally and geographically to assess trends in domestic and sylvatic animal rabies cases.

RESULTS During 2016, 50 states and Puerto Rico reported 4,910 rabid animals to the CDC, representing a 10.9% decrease from the 5,508 rabid animals reported in 2015. Of the 4,910 cases of animal rabies, 4,487 (91.4%) involved wildlife. Relative contributions by the major animal groups were as follows: 1,646 (33.5%) bats, 1,403 (28.6%) raccoons, 1,031 (21.0%) skunks, 313 (6.4%) foxes, 257 (5.2%) cats, 70 (1.4%) cattle, and 58 (1.2%) dogs. There was a 4.6% decrease in the number of samples submitted for testing in 2016, compared with the number submitted in 2015. No human rabies deaths were reported in 2016.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE 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.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

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.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To compare anamnestic antibody responses of dogs and cats with current versus out-of-date vaccination status.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—74 dogs and 33 cats.

Procedures—Serum samples were obtained from dogs and cats that had been exposed to rabies and brought to a veterinarian for proactive serologic monitoring or that had been brought to a veterinarian for booster rabies vaccination. Blood samples were collected on the day of initial evaluation (day 0) and then again 5 to 15 days later. On day 0, a rabies vaccine was administered according to label recommendations. Paired serum samples were analyzed for antirabies antibodies by means of a rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test.

Results—All animals had an antirabies antibody titer ≥ 0.5 IU/mL 5 to 15 days after booster vaccination. Dogs with an out-of-date vaccination status had a higher median increase in titer, higher median fold increase in titer, and higher median titer following booster vaccination, compared with dogs with current vaccination status. Most (26/33) cats, regardless of rabies vaccination status, had a titer ≥ 12 IU/mL 5 to 15 days after booster vaccination.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that dogs with out-of-date vaccination status were not inferior in their antibody response following booster rabies vaccination, compared with dogs with current vaccination status. Findings supported immediate booster vaccination followed by observation for 45 days of dogs and cats with an out-of-date vaccination status that are exposed to rabies, as is the current practice for dogs and cats with current vaccination status.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate rabies virus (RABV) characterization data obtained from animal specimens submitted to the US public health rabies surveillance system and propose a standardized approach to sample selection for RABV characterization that could enhance early detection of important rabies epizootic events in the United States.

SAMPLE

United States public health rabies surveillance system data collected from January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2015.

PROCEDURES

Data were reviewed to identify RABV-positive specimens for which virus characterization would likely provide information regarding any of 4 overarching events (discovery of novel variants, translocation of RABV variants, host-shift events, and any unusual rabies-related event) that could substantially alter animal rabies epizootiology in the United States. These specimens were designated as specimens of epizootiological importance (SEIs). Estimates of the additional number of specimens that public health laboratories could expect to process each year if all SEIs underwent RABV characterization were calculated.

RESULTS

During the 6-year period, the mean annual number of SEIs was 855 (95% CI, 739 to 971); the mean number of SEIs that underwent virus characterization was 270 (95% CI, 187 to 353). Virus characterization of all SEIs would be expected to increase the public health laboratories’ test load by approximately 585 (95% CI, 543 to 625) specimens/y.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Prioritization of RABV characterization of SEIs may improve early detection of rabies events associated with RABV host shifts, variant translocations, and importation. Characterization of SEIs may help refine wildlife rabies management practices. Each public health laboratory should evaluate testing of SEIs to ensure diagnostic laboratory capacity is not overstretched.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To identify knowledge and practices related to rabies vaccination and serologic monitoring among animal care workers in the United States.

DESIGN Cross-sectional survey.

SAMPLE 2,334 animal care workers (ie, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, animal control workers, and wildlife rehabilitators).

PROCEDURES Participants were contacted through relevant professional organizations to participate in an anonymous web-based survey. The survey collected demographic and occupational information, animal handling and potential rabies exposure information, and individual rabies vaccination and serologic monitoring practices. Comparisons of animal bite and rabies exposure rates were made between occupational groups. Multiple logistic regression was used to evaluate factors associated with rabies vaccination status and adherence to serologic monitoring recommendations.

RESULTS Respondents reported 0.77 animal bites/person-year or 0.10 bites/1,000 animals handled. The overall rate of postexposure prophylaxis due to an occupational rabies exposure was 1.07/100 person-years. Veterinarians reported the highest rabies vaccination rate (98.7% [367/372]), followed by animal control workers (78.5% [344/438]), wildlife rehabilitators (78.2% [122/156]), and veterinary technicians (69.3% [937/1,352]). Respondents working for employers requiring rabies vaccination and serologic monitoring were 32.16 and 6.14 times, respectively, as likely to be vaccinated or have a current serologic monitoring status as were respondents working for employers without such policies.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that, given the high reported rates of animal bites and potential rabies exposures among animal care workers, improvements in rabies vaccination and serologic monitoring practices are needed.

Restricted access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

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.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To provide epidemiological information on animal and human cases of rabies occurring in the United States during 2019 and summaries of 2019 rabies surveillance for Canada and Mexico.

ANIMALS

All animals submitted for laboratory diagnosis of rabies in the United States during 2019.

PROCEDURES

State and territorial public health departments and USDA Wildlife Services provided data on animals submitted for rabies testing in the United States during 2019. Data were analyzed temporally and geographically to assess trends in domestic and wildlife rabies cases.

RESULTS

During 2019, 53 jurisdictions submitted 97,523 animal samples for rabies testing, of which 94,770 (97.2%) had a conclusive (positive or negative) test result. Of these, 4,690 tested positive for rabies, representing a 5.3% decrease from the 4,951 cases reported in 2018. Texas (n = 565 [12.0%]), New York (391 [8.3%]), Virginia (385 [8.2%]), North Carolina (315 [6.7%]), California (276 [5.9%]), and Maryland (269 [5.7%]) together accounted for almost half of all animal rabies cases reported in 2019. Of the total reported rabid animals, 4,305 (91.8%) were wildlife, with raccoons (n = 1,545 [32.9%]), bats (1,387 [29.6%]), skunks (915 [19.5%]), and foxes (361 [7.7%]) as the primary species confirmed with rabies. Rabid cats (n = 245 [5.2%]) and dogs (66 [1.4%]) accounted for > 80% of rabies cases involving domestic animals in 2019. No human rabies cases were reported in 2019.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

The overall number of animal rabies cases decreased from 2018 to 2019. Laboratory diagnosis of rabies in animals is critical to ensure that human rabies postexposure prophylaxis is administered judiciously.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To provide epidemiological information on animal and human cases of rabies in the US during 2020 and summaries of 2020 rabies surveillance for Canada and Mexico.

ANIMALS

All animals submitted for laboratory diagnosis of rabies in the US during 2020.

PROCEDURES

State and territorial public health departments and USDA Wildlife Services provided 2020 rabies surveillance data. Data were analyzed temporally and geographically to assess trends in domestic and wildlife rabies cases.

RESULTS

During 2020, 54 jurisdictions submitted 87,895 animal samples for rabies testing, of which 85,483 (97.3%) had a conclusive (positive or negative) test result. Of these, 4,479 (5.2%) tested positive for rabies, representing a 4.5% decrease from the 4,690 cases reported in 2019. Texas (n = 580 [12.9%]), Pennsylvania (371 [8.3%]), Virginia (351 [7.8%]), New York (346 [7.7%]), North Carolina (301 [6.7%]), New Jersey (257 [5.7%]), Maryland (256 [5.7%]), and California (248 [5.5%]) together accounted for > 60% of all animal rabies cases reported in 2020. Of the total reported rabid animals, 4,090 (91.3%) involved wildlife, with raccoons (n = 1,403 [31.3%]), bats (1,400 [31.3%]), skunks (846 [18.9%]), and foxes (338 [7.5%]) representing the primary hosts confirmed with rabies. Rabid cats (288 [6.4%]), cattle (43 [1.0%]), and dogs (37 [0.8%]) accounted for 95% of rabies cases involving domestic animals in 2020. No human rabies cases were reported in 2020.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

For the first time since 2006, the number of samples submitted for rabies testing in the US was < 90,000; this is thought to be due to factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as similar decreases in sample submission were also reported by Canada and Mexico.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association