Rabies, 2012

Rabies is caused by the rabies virus, an enveloped RNA virus from the Rhabdoviridae family and Lyssavirus genus. In Minnesota, the reservoir species are skunks and multiple bat species. Dogs, cats and horses are generally exposed to rabies through encounters with skunks. Vaccinating them for rabies provides a buffer between wildlife and people.

In 2012, 72 (2.9%) of 2,518 animals submitted for testing were positive for rabies (Figure 5). This is increased from 2011, when 55 (2.3%) of 2,385 animals submitted tested positive for rabies, but within the expected range. The majority of positive animals in 2012 were bats (39/72 [54%]), followed by skunks (21/72 [30%]), cats (4/72 [6%]), cattle (3/72 [4%]), horses (2/72 [3%]), dogs (1/72 [1%]), fox (1/72 [1%]) and deer (1/72 [1%]). This was the first record of a deer testing positive for rabies in Minnesota. There were no human cases of rabies.

From 2003 to 2012, 619 (2.5%) of 24,492 animals tested positive for rabies. The median number of rabies positive animals identified annually was 64 (range, 39 to 94). From 2003 to 2012, 268/554 (48%) skunks, 46/610 (8%) cattle, 228/6,497 (4%) bats, 39/7,763 (0.5%) cats, 28/6,834 (0.4%) dogs, and 0/817 (0%) raccoons that were submitted tested positive for rabies. Rabies in raccoons is rare in Minnesota: from 1988 to 2012, 3 raccoons have tested positive for rabies; these occurred in 1989, 1990, and 1993.

Rabid Animals by County

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Updated Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 01:24PM