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Rabies Update

Tuesday, June 6, 2017  
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In 2016, a total of 137 animals in Maricopa County were tested for rabies, including 104 animals tested at the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory and 33 animals tested by DRIT (Direct Rapid Immunohistochemical Test) at the USDA Wildlife Services Office. Twelve animal species were represented in the testing. The top four animal types tested included 35 bats, 24 cats, 23 dogs and 20 raccoons. Of these, only five animals (all wild species) tested positive for rabies, including four bats and a coyote. The rabies virus variant that infected the rabid coyote was typed as Gray Fox Variant.


Statewide, 152 rabid animals were reported in 2016 including 72 bats, 70 skunks, five foxes, two bobcats, one cat, one coyote and one horse. Rabid animals were reported in 10 counties. However, 89 percent (136/152) were reported in three southern counties: Cochise, Pima and Santa Cruz.


As of May 2017, two cases of animal rabies have been reported in Maricopa County, including a rabid fox in Tortilla Flat in January and a rabid bat in Tempe in February. There were no human exposures reported.


Latest News: A coyote in Sunflower tested positive for rabies., Four teenagers were potentially exposed and started post-exposure prophylaxis. The variant typing of the coyote will be done at some time in the future, but the odds are very high that this case of wildlife rabies will be a gray fox variant. This could mean that rabies is circulating among foxes in the Sunflower area.    


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