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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The North American Raccoon Rabies Epizootic

Authors
item Frost, Andrea - PRIVATE PRACTICE
item Hamir, Amirali

Submitted to: Veterinary Bulletin
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 9, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Worldwide, rabies generally spreads from dog to dog, dog to livestock, and dog to human, with dogs as the major reservoir of infection. Until the early 1960's this was true for the USA, Canada, and western Europe, but as a result of widespread vaccination and control efforts beginning in the 1940s, dogs are no longer a significant reservoir for rabies in these countries; wildlife has taken over the role of rabies reservoir in the developed world. In the USA, raccoon rabies was confined to Florida and Georgia. However, in 1977 it spread to West Virginia. Since then it has spread to all the States along the eastern coast. Fortunately, a new oral rabies vaccine was developed in the mid-1980's to control the disease. This paper reviews various aspects of the disease and its control methods in raccoons.

Technical Abstract: This is a review of rabies. It deals with the eiology, transmission, n clinical signs, diagnostic methods, epizootiology, and control of raccoon rabies in the USA. Raccoons are very adaptable and their population densities in urban and suburban areas are extremely high. Raccoon rabies were confined to Florida and Georgia. However, in 1977 it spread to West Virginia, more than 300 miles from the nearest known endemic area, in an area free from terrestrial rabies for more than 20 years. Since then it has spread to all the States along the eastern coast. Fortunately, a recombinant rabies vaccine, incorporating the c-DNA coding for the rabies surface glycoprotein into a vaccinia virus, was developed in the mid-1980's to control the disease. The paper documents the experimental development, field trials, and the use of this vaccine in the USA.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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