Bats lead in U.S. rabies risk

Bats are implicated in most human rabies deaths in the United States. According to a new CDC Vital Signs report, the reason for this may be that people are not aware of the risk that bats present.

Bats are implicated in most human rabies deaths in the United States. According to a new CDC Vital Signs report, the reason for this may be that people are not aware of the risk that bats present. The report said that bats are behind about 70% of the rabies deaths in this country among people who are infected. CDC noted, "The large percentage of deaths tied to bats is particularly striking since bats account for just a third of the 5,000 rabid animals reported each year in the U.S. Rabid dogs that people encounter while traveling overseas are the second-leading cause of rabies cases in Americans." In the United States, there are 1-3 cases of rabies a year, due in large part to routine pet vaccination and the availability of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Each year, about 55,000 people in the United States seek PEP after a potential rabies exposure. CDC recommended that people stay away from wildlife, especially bats, and people who are traveling should look into the rabies risk at their destination.