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Veterinary Public Health


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Contact Information
Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 989-7060
Tel: (877) 747-2243
Fax (213) 481-2375
vet@ph.lacounty.gov
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Rabies in Los Angeles County

RABIES HISTORY IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY


Rabies was first detected in our county more than one hundred years ago. The first rabid animal was diagnosed here in 1898 when an Englishman told the Health Officer his dog, which was uncontrollable, might have rabies. Confirmatory tests were not available here at the time, and were run in Chicago.

The highest number rabid dogs (1,730) confirmed in the County of Los Angeles occurred in 1937. That year, a 57-year-old man saw a dog attack a group of school children. Rushing over, he grabbed the rabid dog and was bitten several times. He held it until police arrived. The man later died of rabies. In the fall, an Altadena veterinarian died of rabies.

In 1956, after the largest outbreak of rabies in cattle in Los Angeles County, all dogs within the County were required to be vaccinated against rabies as a prerequisite to licensing. Later California passed a similar law. Following mandatory rabies vaccination of dogs, the disease declined rapidly. Rabies in dogs still predominates in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

RABIES TODAY

Today in North America and Europe rabies is found primarily in wildlife. For example, in California during 2013 there were 152 rabid animals diagnosed. Bats (145) and skunks (5) accounted for over 99% of the rabid animals. One dog in San Mateo County and one cat in Sonoma County were the only rabid domestic animal. That year all rabid animals (34) detected in Los Angeles County were bats.

RABIES IN BATS
In the United States today, bats account for most rabies cases in people. This is due to the fact that people sometimes do not seek rabies treatment after a bat bite. Bat bites may occasionally go unnoticed by the victim, because some bat species have very small teeth.

Bats are the animals that most commonly carry rabies in our county right now. Los Angeles County first began testing bats for rabies in 1961. Testing is performed on bats that are found near people and pets, or that are acting abnormally. During most years, approximately 8-10 rabid bats are detected this way. In 2010 22 rabid bats were found, and in 2012, an all-time record of 56 rabid bats were detected. The cause of the increase is unknown.

Most bats do not have rabies, and try to avoid contact with people and pets. Bats are good for the environment because they eat insects and pollinate plants. Bats are also protected by law. Scroll down to bottom for latest Los Angeles County and California rabies data.

RABIES IN OTHER ANIMALS
Other wild animal species have been diagnosed with rabies in Los Angeles County, too.
Click here to learn about rabies in wild animals (other than bats) in our county and in the United States.

RABIES IN PEOPLE
The last human rabies death our county occurred in 2004. A man from Latin America had been living in the USA for over a year before becoming ill. The Centers for Disease Control determined the man died from a strain of dog rabies typically seen in his country of origin.
Click here to learn about our last two human cases, and about human cases from across the United States.
Click here to learn more about protecting people from rabies.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY RABID BAT MAPS      
2014

2013

2012

2011

2010
2009
2008
2007
2004-2013

Animal Rabies Cases in LA County 1922-2007    

 


CALIFORNIA ANIMAL RABIES STATISTICS
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
1997-2006

Map  - Rabid Animals in California, 2007
      
        


RESOURCES

       2011 Lecture about rabies
       Rabies Control Manual - Los Angeles County
       Laws related to Rabies - State of California
       Compendium of Rabies Control - California Department of Public Health, 2004
       List of Approved Rabies Vaccines for Animals in California - CA Dept of Public Health, 2008
       MULTIMEDIA RESOURCES - Click HERE for CDC podcasts, videos, eCards and more about RABIES! 4/25/11
 

BROCHURES
       Rabies Tales from Los Angeles County (cartoon)      
       Questions and Answers about Rabies (CDC)
       Bats and Rabies (CDC)
 

Positive Rabies Laboratory Slide (Image from LA County Public Health Laboratory)

Physicians  - click HERE for more information about rabies.

 

 
 
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