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ABSTRACT OF THE WEEK

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Volume 261 | Issue 7 (July 2023)

Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2021.

J Am Vet Med Assoc. July 2023;261(7):1045 - 1053.
Xiaoyue Ma1, Sarah Bonaparte2, Patrick Corbett3, Lillian A Orciari4, Crystal M Gigante5, Jordona D Kirby6, Richard B Chipman7, Christine Fehlner-Gardiner8, Cin Thang9, Veronica Gutiérrez Cedillo10, Nidia Aréchiga Ceballos11, Agam Rao12, Ryan M Wallace13
1 1Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, Atlanta, GA.; 2 1Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, Atlanta, GA.; 3 2Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, Atlanta, GA.; 4 1Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, Atlanta, GA.; 5 1Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, Atlanta, GA.; 6 3Wildlife Services, APHIS, USDA, Concord, NH.; 7 3Wildlife Services, APHIS, USDA, Concord, NH.; 8 4Centre of Expertise for Rabies, Ottawa Laboratory-Fallowfield, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Ottawa, ON, Canada.; 9 4Centre of Expertise for Rabies, Ottawa Laboratory-Fallowfield, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Ottawa, ON, Canada.; 10 5Centro Nacional de Programas Preventivos y Control de Enfermedades, Secretaria de Salud de México, CDMX, México.; 11 6Laboratorio de Rabia, Departamento de Virología, Instituto de Diagnóstico y Referencia Epidemiológicos, Secretaría de Salud de México, CDMX, México.; 12 1Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, Atlanta, GA.; 13 1Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, Atlanta, GA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:To provide epidemiological information on the occurrence of animal and human rabies in the US during 2021 and summaries of 2021 rabies surveillance for Canada and Mexico.
PROCEDURES:State and territorial public health departments and USDA Wildlife Services provided data on animals submitted for rabies testing in 2021. Data were analyzed temporally and geographically to assess trends in domestic animal and wildlife rabies cases.
RESULTS:During 2021, 54 US jurisdictions reported 3,663 rabid animals, representing an 18.2% decrease from the 4,479 cases reported in 2020. Texas (n = 456 [12.4%]), Virginia (297 [8.1%]), Pennsylvania (287 [7.8%]), North Carolina (248 [6.8%]), New York (237 [6.5%]), California (220 [6.0%]), and New Jersey (201 [5.5%]) together accounted for > 50% of all animal rabies cases reported in 2021. Of the total reported rabid animals, 3,352 (91.5%) involved wildlife, with bats (n = 1,241 [33.9%]), raccoons (1,030 [28.1%]), skunks (691 [18.9%]), and foxes (314 [8.6%]) representing the primary hosts confirmed with rabies. Rabid cats (216 [5.9%]), cattle (40 [1.1%]), and dogs (36 [1.0%]) accounted for 94% of rabies cases involving domestic animals in 2021. Five human rabies deaths were reported in 2021.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE:The number of animal rabies cases reported in the US decreased significantly during 2021; this is thought to be due to factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Comments:
Comment In J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2023 Nov 01;261(11):1605-1606

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