Rabies surveillance in the United States during 1997

John W. Krebs From the Viral and Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.

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Jean S. Smith From the Viral and Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.

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Charles E. Rupprecht From the Viral and Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.

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James E. Childs From the Viral and Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.

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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.

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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