A Rabies Update

A few months ago I posted about rabies.  I thought I’d share with you the latest statistics regarding the occurrences of rabies in the U.S. in 2010.  In the U.S., wildlife is the most important source of the rabies virus, but spillover into domestic species does occur.  

In 2010, 48 states and Puerto Rico reported 6,154 rabid animals and 2 human rabies cases to the Centers for Disease Control, which was actually an 8% decrease from the 6,690 rabid animals and 4 human cases reported in 2009. Hawaii and Mississippi did not report any laboratory-confirmed rabid animals during 2010. Approximately 92% of reported rabid animals were wildlife species. Raccoons, skunks and bats were the top three carriers.  Here are the numbers:  2,246 raccoons (36.5%), 1,448 skunks (23.5%), 1,430 bats (23.2%), 429 foxes (6.9%), 303 cats (4.9%), 71 cattle (1.1%), and 69 dogs (1.1%). 

What caught my eye, of course, were the cat numbers.  Compared to 2009, rabies decreased in all species except cats, where there was a 1% increase. Two cases of rabies involving humans were reported from Louisiana and Wisconsin in 2010. Louisiana reported an imported human rabies case involving a 19-year-old male migrant farm worker who was bitten by a vampire bat while in Mexico. This represents the first human rabies case reported in the U.S. confirmed to have been caused by a vampire bat rabies virus variant.

Ewwwwww. Rabies. Yuck.