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< >  Literature Reports of MORBIDITY for Rabies (with special reference to Raccoons):

Morbidity Rate (Percentage of the Species Population that develop clinical disease)

Editorial Summary (Editorial Overview Text Replicated on Overall Disease page - Rabies (with special reference to Raccoons)) Note: limited data on rabies in general is provided in the literature reports but is not intended to be comprehensive; information on rabies in many species exists in the literature but has not been included at this time.
General
  • The occurrence of rabies is variable. Worldwide in humans it is estimated that there may be 35,000 to 50,000 or even 100,000 cases annually. In the developing world, rabies in dogs is often a serious problem, while in the developed world, rabies in dogs is controlled and rabies is seen mainly in wild carnivore reservoirs and bats. For example, in the USA in 2004 there were 6,836 confirmed cases in nonhuman animals and eight cases in humans.
In Procyon lotor - Common Raccoon
  • Raccoons may be infected by both raccoon rabies and other strains of rabies virus, and this infection can be fatal. However, it is also apparent, both from experimental studies and from the prevalence of seropositive raccoons in wild populations, that rabies infection in raccoons is not always fatal and that raccoons may encounter rabies virus, seroconvert, and not show illness or death. 
Source Information
General
In Procyon lotor - Common Raccoon
  • Raccoons appear to have "intermediate" susceptibility to rabies: much more resistant than foxes, and more resistant than skunks, but much less resistant than opossums (Didelphis marsupialis). (D222.5.w5, B395.2.w2)
  • Raccoons may acquire subclinical, immunising infection (J63.5.w1)
    • Various studies have detected antibodies to rabies in 2.2 to 34.6% of raccoons in various areas. (D222.3.w3)
    • Estimates of the percentage of raccoons which develop immunity following infection with rabies vary from 5.6% to 35.6%. (J13.50.w1)
    • Initial studies showed the presence of a "serum antiviral substance" capable of neutralising rabies virus, in 111 of 196 tested raccoons (5.6% from areas in which fox rabies had recently occurred; in contrast animals from rabies-free areas did not show exhibit serum neutralisation). (J63.5.w1)
    • Note: Data from early studies in which the higher percentages of "seropositive" raccoons were reported may not have been detecting specific antibodies to rabies virus where low titres were detected. See:
  • Susceptibility of raccoons may vary depending on the rabies strain involved. A study in Ontario in the late 1980s considered that raccoons were relatively resistant to the local strain of rabies virus, with less than 1% of rabid animals diagnosed being raccoons. (P69.14.w1)

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Authors & Referees

Authors Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
Referee Dr Robert G. McLean (V.w42)

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