Rabies Home > Is Rabies a Common Disease?

Some people may ask, "Is rabies a common disease?" In the United States, rabies is not a common disease, especially in humans. This is due to the implementation of animal control and vaccination programs as well as the development of effective rabies vaccines for humans. During 2001, there was only one reported case of rabies in the U.S.

Is Rabies a Common Disease?

As far as diseases are concerned, rabies is not a very common disease, especially in humans. In 2001, there were over 7,000 cases of rabies in the United States, but the vast majority of these were seen in wild animals. Raccoons accounted for nearly 40 percent of these cases among animals. Most cases of rabies occurred on the East Coast (see Statistics of Rabies).
 
In the U.S., there was one case of rabies in humans during 2001, and three cases in 2002.
 

Is Rabies a Common Disease in Humans?

In this century, the number of human deaths in the United States attributed to rabies has declined from 100 or more each year, to an average of 1 or 2 each year. Two programs have been responsible for this decline. First, animal control and vaccination programs, begun in the 1940s, have practically eliminated domestic dogs as reservoirs of rabies in the United States. Second, effective human rabies vaccines and immune globulins have been developed.
 
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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