Rabies surveillance in the United States during 1998

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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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.

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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