The Arkansas Department of Health recorded 118 incidents where humans in Arkansas were treated following exposure to confirmed rabid animals from 1994-2000. Domestic species accounted for 64% of incidents and 76% of total human exposures with the ratio of human exposures per rabid animal 17 times higher for domestic animals than wild animals. Records of 218 cases of human exposure to potentially rabid wild animals during this period were also examined to determine method of contact. While 72% of cases involving raccoons (Procyon lotor), skunks (Mephitis mephitis and Spilogale putorius), and foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus and Vulpes vulpes) were initiated by humans, bats initiated 64% of contacts in which post-exposure treatments were given. However, 75% of contacts with rabid bats in which the instigator is known were provoked by the human. Though recent rabies-related human deaths in the United States have resulted from apparent exposures torabid wild animals, the higher rate of human exposure to rabid domestic animals indicates that continuing efforts to prevent the spread of this disease in pet populations are necessary.
Sasse, D. Blake
"Human Rabies Post-Exposure Treatment in Arkansas, 1994-2000,"
Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science: Vol. 58
, Article 17.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uark.edu/jaas/vol58/iss1/17