44 US equines succumb to rabies in 2011

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Distribution of major rabies reservoirs in the US, 2007-2011.
Distribution of major rabies reservoirs in the US, 2007-2011. (Adapted from JAVMA, Vol 241, No 6, p 712-722).

Rabies was detected in 44 equines in 2011, according to figures from the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Figures from the agency, reported in the latest issue of Equine Disease Quarterly, show there were 6037 cases of confirmed animal rabies in 49 states and Puerto Rico. Hawaii is a rabies-free state.

Of these rabies cases, 92 per cent were confirmed in wildlife and 8 per cent in domestic species. These do not represent all rabies cases in the US since rabies cases, especially in wildlife, go unobserved and undetected.

The rabid equids in 2011 were in Florida (1); Georgia (1); Kentucky (1); Maine (1); Nebraska (4); New Jersey (1); North Carolina (3); Oklahoma (1); Puerto Rico (4); South Dakota (1); Tennessee (2); Texas (22); and Virginia (2).

Canada reported two cases in equids. Mexico reported three rabid horses.

Rabies is a viral disease that is a reportable disease in the United States for humans and animals.

In the continental US, the primary reservoirs of rabies virus are raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats. Historically, bat rabies has been confirmed in all 49 continental states. In Puerto Rico, the mongoose is the wildlife reservoir.


Equine Disease Quarterly is funded by underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, brokers and their Kentucky agents.


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