CDC Announces US Canine Rabies Eradicated, Other Forms of Rabies Still in Wild
Great news but please note that your furbabies still need their rabies shots to prevent other forms of rabies.
Thanks to AJC.com for this article.
U.S. dogs rabies-free, CDC says
By CRAIG SCHNEIDER
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 09/07/07
The canine rabies virus has been eliminated in the United States, federal health experts are expected to announce at a conference in Atlanta on Friday.
"We now know that this virus does not circulate either in Canada or the U.S.," said Dr. Charles Rupprecht, chief of the rabies program at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "It's not here anymore."
He said the elimination nationally of the strain of the virus specific to dogs is considered a "major public health milestone."
The canine strain once was the greatest threat of rabies to humans. Without immediate treatment, the virus kills almost all of its victims.
A case of the canine rabies virus has not been confirmed in the United States in more than two years, Rupprecht said.
Other strains of rabies persist, and scientists said pet owners should continue to have their dogs vaccinated, because a dog still can get a different rabies virus from other infected animals, such as skunks or raccoons.
In theory, infected dogs also could transmit the rabies virus to humans through bites, but scientists have not seen such a case since the early 1990s. Eliminating the canine variety of rabies virus has greatly reduced the number of deaths in the United States from rabies in general.
The announcement will highlight the World Rabies Day Symposium and Expo at the CDC today. Scientists attributed the achievement to aggressive vaccination of dogs and better public health education about rabies.