Statistics on Rabies
Domestic species accounted for 6.8 percent of all rabid animals reported in the United States in 2001. The number of reported domestic animals infected with the rabies virus decreased 2.4 percent from the 509 cases reported in 2000, to 497 in 2001.
In 2001, cases of rabies in cats increased 8.4 percent, whereas those in dogs, cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and swine decreased 21.9 percent, 1.2 percent, 1.9 percent and 70.0 percent, respectively compared with those reported in 2000. Rabies cases in cats continue to be more than twice as numerous as those in dogs or cattle.
Pennsylvania reported the largest number of rabid domestic animals (46) for any state, followed by New York (43).
Successful vaccination programs that began in the 1940s caused a decline in dog rabies in this country. But, as the number of cases of rabies in dogs decreased, rabies in wild animals increased.
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.