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Rabies: Hasn’t The Threat To Our Pets Ended?

Rabies: Hasn’t the Threat To Our Pets Ended?

Actually, the number of cases of rabid dogs increased by 8% in 2009, the most recent full year of data kept by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Also, there were almost four times as many cases of rabid cats than dogs in 2009. The number of cases of rabid cats was the most prevalent (81%) in states along the eastern seaboard of the US where, coincidentally, the location of the highest incidents of rabid raccoons occurred.

Wild Animal Rabies

But, closer investigation shows that the vast majority (92.4%) of the 6694 cases of rabies reported in 2009 were from wild animals. Of the 50 states and 3 additional municipalities (Puerto Rico, New York City, and District of Columbia) which report to the CDC, over a third of the cases (2327) were of rabid raccoons. (The Borough of Manhattan by itself reported 116 cases of rabid raccoons in 2009.) Next overall were cases of rabid bats (1625) and rabid skunks (1603).

Domestic Animal Rabies

The CDC reported that 29 states plus New York City and DC had zero cases of canine rabies for the year. (Hawaii is the only state that is completely rabies free.) Seven other states had 1 case each and three others had 2 cases each. Disregarding the state with the most cases, Texas with 14, this means that the 10 remaining states and Puerto Rico had 54 cases, an average of less than 5 each.

Human Rabies

Since 2000 there have been 31 reported cases of human rabies. Astonishingly enough, in 2 of these cases the patient survived after displaying symptoms of the disease. Once the symptoms become evident, there is little hope of survival. Both patients had been unaware that they had been exposed and therefore, no preemptive protective treatment was provided. The survival of both patients was attributed to their having exceedingly strong immune systems.

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Henry Stanley has raised four generations of large breed dogs and he believes there is a real need to keep pet owners updated with the best and latest information about their pets. This is the intent of his blog at Pet Info Place.

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