Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-borne, and Enteric Diseases, Coordinating Center for Infectious Disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.
During 2007, 49 states and Puerto Rico reported 7,258 cases of rabies in animals and 1 case in a human to the CDC, representing a 4.6% increase from the 6,940 cases in animals and 3 cases in humans reported in 2006. Approximately 93% of the cases were in wildlife, and 7% were in domestic animals. Relative contributions by the major animal groups were as follows: 2,659 raccoons (36.6%), 1,973 bats (27.2%), 1,478 skunks (20.4%), 489 foxes (6.7%), 274 cats (3.8%), 93 dogs (1.3%), and 57 cattle (0.8%). Compared with numbers of reported cases in 2006, cases in 2007 increased among dogs, bats, foxes, and skunks while decreases were reported among cattle, cats, and skunks. Increases in numbers of rabid raccoons during 2007 were reported by 11 of the 20 eastern states where raccoon rabies was enzootic, and reported cases increased by 1.7% overall, compared with 2006. On a national level, the number of rabies cases in skunks during 2007 decreased by 1.1% from the number reported in 2006. Texas reported the greatest number (n = 362) of rabid skunks and the greatest overall state total of animal rabies cases (969). No cases of rabies associated with the dog/coyote rabies virus variant were reported. The United States remains free of dog-to-dog transmission of canine rabies virus variants. The total number of cases of rabies reported nationally in foxes increased 14.5%, compared with 2006. Increases in the number of reported rabid foxes were attributable to greater numbers of foxes reported with the Arctic fox rabies virus variant in Alaska, the Texas gray fox rabies virus variant in Texas, and the raccoon rabies virus variant in Virginia. The 1,973 cases of rabies reported in bats represented a 16.6% increase over numbers reported in 2006. Cases of rabies in dogs and in sheep and goats increased 17.7% and 18.2%, respectively, whereas cases reported in cattle, cats, and horses and mules decreased 30.5%, 13.8%, and 20.8%, respectively. In Puerto Rico, reported cases of rabies in mongooses decreased 51.5%, and rabies in domestic animals, presumably attributable to spillover infection from mongooses, increased 25%. One human rabies case was reported from Minnesota during 2007. Although typing of the rabies virus variant in this case was not possible, an investigation of this case indicated a bat as the most likely source of exposure.
Erratum In: J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2008 Oct 15;233(8):1264