CDC Says US Free Of Canine Rabies

DogWorld Rabies Day is today, September 8, 2007. This is an international event that launches global efforts to eliminate rabies.

The US Centers for Disease Control announced on Friday that the canine rabies virus has been eliminated from the United States.

“The elimination of canine rabies in the United States represents one of the major public health success stories in the last 50 years,” said Charles Rupprecht, chief of the CDC Rabies Program.

Dogs may still become infected with rabies from raccoons, skunks, bats or other wildlife, but they will not be infected with canine rabies from another dog. Because of the risk of getting a different rabies virus from other animals, health officials still recommend that pet owners continue to have their pets vaccinated against rabies.

Officials said the elimination of the canine rabies virus in the US was achieved through mandatory dog vaccination and licensing, better public health education about rabies, and stray dog control. The strain most specific to dogs has not been seen in the United States since 2004.

Rupprecht added that there is still much work to be done with rabies globally. Rabies kills at least 55,000 humans around the world each year, and the major cause is the canine rabies virus.

“We remain optimistic that this official declaration of canine-rabies free status in the United States could be replicated throughout the Western Hemisphere and elsewhere,” Rupprecht said.

Canine rabies is still common in many countries, including much of Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, India, China, and the Philippines.

Source: AFP

Photo: Jupiter Images

7 Responses to “CDC Says US Free Of Canine Rabies”

  1. sandi says:

    What an assinine story. Non innoculated dogs and cats can still contract rabies from other sources. We get many animals wild that test positive for rabies and have been in contact with innoculated animals.

    Stories like this are dangerous, due to the fact that many are ignorant about rabies, and will think it is ok not to vaccinate their animals.

    Also, one dog was in contact with a rabid bat in the home.


  2. Dave says:

    Vaccinating dogs for rabies every year is just insane. There is a movement to reduce the number of rabies vaccinations over a pet’s lifetime. Most vets and their association will want you to believe it has to be done every year. Just another $ grab. Visit

  3. Pukanuba says:

    Dave: I don’t know where you live but here in CA (& I actually thought most states) it’s every three years, not every year. Some vets think the shot is actually good for five years but by law we have to inoculate every three years & prove it before we can license our dogs.

  4. Katie says:

    I used to debunk the rabies shot and feel we may innoculate to often. We live in AZ where a shot is good for three years and I know the rabies challenge is looking to prove effectiveness through 5 years.

    However, not more than 10 feet from my backdoor this past week I was bitten by a bat that has tested positive for rabies. It could have been my dog. She is current on her rabies shots.
    It proved to me that the threat doesn’t just exist in some wild far off place in the mountains, the threat is not far from our backdoor. This is one vaccination we will never do without in my household. It is far better to be safe than sorry. Rabies kills.


  5. Ed says:

    sandi, this story is about human health, not animal health - the point is that the kind of rabies that kills the most people in the world is now gone from the U.S.

    Your criticisms miss the fact that the article says dogs can get other kinds of rabies from other animals, and “health officials still recommend that pet owners continue to have their pets vaccinated against rabies.”

  6. Katie says:

    Ed, while what you say is true. Those who find it unneccesary to give Rabies shots will only see: CDC says the US is free of Canine rabies. There are those out there who read the headlines but don’t read the full article. And, there are some who do not know that wildlife rabies and canine rabies are different.


  7. Peter Costa says:

    World Rabies Day will be observed on Sep 28th.

    Last year 400,000 mobilized to raise rabies awareness!!!

    Get involved! Help spread the word about this deadly, yet easily preventable disease!

    Rabies education materials and more information available at

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