Rabies reports from Michigan and Virginia, and an Inquiry regarding GARC/CDC Global Availability of Rabies Biologics Survey.

Michigan 12/19/10 lansingstatejournal.com: by Juliet Wang – Rabies remains a problem in the state, with 70 animals testing positive in Michigan so far this year.  Most cases of animal rabies are reported in the Lower Peninsula, especially in the southeast.  Counties where humans and pets were exposed to the disease but showed no risk and received adequate treatment last year include Oakland, Kent, Genesee, Shiawassee and Clinton, according to the Department of Agriculture.  “The lower half of Michigan has the majority of people, so the majority of human exposure is associated with the human population,” said Tom Cooley, a Department of Natural Resources and Environment biologist.  There were 68 positive animal tests last year, 79 in 2007 and 47 in 2001.  In 2009, a Northern Michigan man died from a bat strain of rabies infection, and no human died from rabies this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Before 2009, there had been no human deaths from the disease since 1983.  Bats are the most common source of human rabies infection in the United States. “There is not really a way to control rabies in bats,” Cooley said.  Skunks come in second but they account for only a small percentage of cases. Even fewer instances involve household pets, he said.  Linda Benson, director of the Animal Control Division in Monroe County, takes the disease seriously and cited a situation where two bats in the county tested positive a couple years ago.  Cooley said DNRE tests for any strain of rabies.  “We treat every bite, scratch or skin abrasion from an animal as a potential positive for rabies,” Benson said. “But the two bats really startled us. It was really bizarre because we never had any before that.”

Virginia 12/17/10 tbd.com: by Elahe Izadi – Who doesn’t love helping out a stray kitten? Well, if you happened to have any kind of contact with a gray tabby kitten earlier this month in Wheaton, you may want to get checked for rabies. The kitten found Dec. 4 in the 3900 block of Harvard Road tested positive for rabies, and now Montgomery County public health officials are on the hunt for anyone who may have had contact with the stray (call them at 240-777-1755).

Inquiry regarding GARC/CDC Global Availability of Rabies Biologics Survey:  The Travelers’ Health Branch and Poxvirus and Rabies Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), are concerned about the health issues facing international travelers and the global availability of rabies biologics. We know that Rabies Vaccine (RV) and/or Rabies Immune Globulin (RIG) are not always available in certain countries, and that globally, there are many different RVs and RIG products available for use.   Obtaining more accurate information about the type and availability of RV and RIG is essential if we are going to effectively provide advice to travelers with rabies exposures.

To that end and in collaboration with GARC, we have created an online survey to gather the relevant information about global availability of rabies biologicals from professional associations, federal agencies, and the private sector to be launched in February of 2011. The survey is geared towards healthcare practitioners and clinic directors who are directly seeing patients.  

We will be sending this out to Rabies prevention networks including AREB, MEEREB, AfroREB, SEARG, Rabies in Asia, and the Association for Prevention of Rabies in India; however, we are seeking input on additional relevant Rabies networks or clinics that may be relevant to participate.  If you have suggestions for relevant Rabies networks or clinics that may be relevant to participate, please contact Dr. Emily Jentes or Dr. Brett Petersen at RabiesSurvey@cdc.gov with the name of the organization and a primary contact name and email address.   We can then follow up with the relevant networks and clinics directly.  

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Cordially,

Gary Brunette, MD, MS, Branch Chief, Travelers’ Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/travel, RabiesSurvey@cdc.gov

Deborah Briggs, Ph.D., Executive Director, Global Alliance for Rabies Control, www.rabiescontrol.net

Peter Costa, MPH CHES, Director, Global Communications, Global Alliance for Rabies Control, www.rabiescontrol.net

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