265 cases of human
rabies were registered nationwide during 1944 to 1953; 52 during 1954 to
1963; 16 during 1964 to 1973; 17 during 1974 to 1983; 14 during 1984 to
Ten of the 18 human
cases reported during 1980 to 1993 were imported. One case was reported
(California) in 1992; 3 in 1993; 6 in 1994: 1 (bat-strain) in California
- no exposure history; 1 in Florida - acquired in Haiti; 5 in 1995 (2 of
these in California, from bats). Four cases were reported in 1996
(including two from silver-harried bats, and an imported case to New
Hampshire - from a dog in Nepal). Two cases reported in 1997 were
acquired from a silver-hared bat (_Lasionycteris noctivigans_) in
Montana, and a big brown bat (_Eptesicus fuscus_) in Washington State.
4,828 rabid animals
were identified in 1990; 6,910 in 1991; 8,589 in 1992; 9,377 in 1993;
8,224 in 1994; 7,881 in 1995 (92% of these wild animals); 6,600 in 1996;
3,620 first half of 1997.
Raccoons accounted for over 60% of animal rabies (5,912 rabid raccoons)
in 1993; and 50. 3% in 1995. Raccoon rabies originated in the Southeast
during the 1950's, with subsequent spread as far south as North Carolina
and as far north as New Hampshire. As of 1996, cases are reported in
West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, District of Colombia, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, North Carolina,
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Ohio (the latter
first reported in (1996).
The skunk predominates in the central states and California; the Grey
fox (_Urocyon cinereoargenteus_) and coyote (_Canis latrans_) in parts
of West-Central and Southern Texas. In 1996, bats accounted for 34% of
rabies in Texas, and skunks for 22%.
15 of 17 indigenously-acquired cases during 1990 to 1996 were from bats
- only one of these from a bite. 647 rabid bats were reported from 46
states during 1992 the silver-hared bat (_Lasionycteris noctivagans_) is
often implicated. The bat is the only rabies reservoir in Washington
Dr. Steve Berger