Acouple of weeks ago, a 55 year old man died from rabies. The 55 year old southern Missouri man died six weeks after being bitten by a bat.
The tragic death, was the first human rabies death in the state of Missouri since 1959.
It's really amazing when you think about it. There is so much talk about rabies in dogs, and the importance of rabies vaccinations in this country -- and the last death from rabies in this state happened amost 50 years ago.
In fact, last year, the CDC declared canine rabies dead in the U.S. Dogs can still contact rabies from other animals such as bats, skunks and racoons, but overall, rabies in adogs in the United States is a very small concern.
In fact, from 1995-2006, there were 37 instances of rabies in human in the United States -- 29 were because of bat bites, 1 from a racoon, and 7 were from dogs -- but none of the dog bites actually occured in the United States. So there hasn't been a single case of a US dog biting a human being and causing rabies in at least the past 13 years.
Popular novels like Old Yeller and Cujo continue to make rabies a scare in the U.S. It shouldn't be.
Now this doesn't mean that we should quit giving vaccinations to our dogs...however, it DOES mean that all of the cities out there that still require annual vaccinations should review their policies. Most veterinarians any more perscribe to the three year rabies vaccination (many vets I talk to think this vaccination lasts for up to 5 years) -- because it is healthier for the dogs to not be over-vaccinated.
Any city that currently requires vaccinations yearly should immediately change their policy to require dogs to be "up-to-date" on their vaccinations. This will allow for owners to use the 3-year vaccination -- and no doubt 5 and 7 year vaccinations that come in the future. This will improve the overall health of all of our pets.