2017 Rabies Cases Down, but Two Human Rabies Deaths Reported

Bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes were the major wildlife cases of rabies diagnosed at the CDC.

Bats were the most frequent wildlife species diagnosed with rabies in 2017. iStockPhotos.com

In a JAVMA article titled “Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2017,” 52 jurisdictions reported 4,454 rabid animals to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). That total was down 9.3% from the 4,910 rabid animals reported in 2016. 

The abstract went on to note that of the 4,454 cases of animal rabies, 4,055 (91.0%) involved wildlife species. The major species were: 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.

For more information visit the AVMA journals website.

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