Rabies surveillance, United States, 1988
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Rabies surveillance, United States, 1988
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    The primary purpose of the annual report on rabies surveillance is to assist local and state public health officials in the planning of rabies control programs and to guide health professionals in evaluating the need for rabies postexposure prophylaxis in patients who are exposed to animals that may be rabid. In 1988, a total of 4,724 cases of animal rabies were reported by 47 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, similar to the total (4,729) for 1987. No human cases of rabies were reported. The South Atlantic, South Central, North Central, and Middle Atlantic states reported 81% of the cases. Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Maryland, and Virginia each reported over 300 rabid animals. Delaware (61 cases), New Mexico (15), Alaska (34), Connecticut (8), and South Carolina (127) each reported an increase in animal rabies cases greater than or equal to 100% in 1988 compared with 1987. Smaller but significant increases also were reported from Florida (66% increase), Pennsylvania (68%), and Georgia (40%). Eighty-eight percent of rabies cases were in wild animals, and 12% were in domestic animals. Skunks, raccoons, and bats accounted for 82% of all rabid animals. Cats became the most commonly reported domestic species for the first time since reporting to CDC began in 1960. The most effective methods of reducing the number of people exposed to rabies are to educate the public to avoid unfamiliar, especially wild, animals and to vaccinate susceptible pets against rabies. Rabies vaccination programs should target cats as well as dogs. Two cases of imported canine rabies emphasized the need to educate travelers of the risk of canine rabies in developing countries. Caution should be used when pets are imported from these countries. Suggest citation: Centers for Disease Control. Rabies Surveillance, United States, 1988. In: CDC Surveillance Summaries, August 1989. MMWR 1989;38 (No. SS-1):[inclusive page numbers].
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