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Domesticated Animals and Wild Animals

From the reported bite reports, domesticated animals far outnumber wild animals in reported potential exposures to the rabies virus. About 95% of the bite reports resulted from companion animals, with dogs recorded as causing the most potential exposures. This is a clear observation that majority of the potential exposures resulted from human contact with cats and dogs. Unfortunately, the compliance with rabies vaccination requirements from pet owners is not on a satisfactory level to ensure that spill over does not occur and put people at risk of contracting rabies. The lack of observance coming from Louisiana pet owners exemplifies public ignorance of regulations and is a testimony to the potential public health risk. The success of rabies prevention programs has historically involved decreasing the capacity of animals to serve as reservoirs, which is frequently accomplished through animal vaccination programs2,7,8,16,18. There has been a mass reduction in the dog variant of the rabies virus from 10,000 per year to a few hundred, while on the other extreme, wildlife rabies cases have equally increased18. Although some states have implemented ORV programs to help prevent spillover infections, domesticated animals are still very much at risk of being infected by wildlife variants of the rabies virus, like when coyotes in South Texas infected domesticated dogs18. One study indicated that failure to comply with vaccination requirements and other suggestions for good pet ownership may reflect owner attitudes that tolerate or encourage aggressive behavior by the animal1. In 2007, a rabid dog was reported in Louisiana, further demonstrating the danger to unvaccinated pets. The lack of adherence to regulations illustrates the need fo...

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...ed to address the incidence rate of various routes that increase the risk of rabies exposure in Louisiana.

From the data of incidence rates, it was addressed if there is a significance in the frequencies of when bites occur pertaining to a person’s age, gender, and residency in the state. Also, the changes of incidences of bites between risk categories and at what times of the year the risks peak were observed. Risk categories have been made to help assess the risk of a person’s occupation in relation to the risk of potentially contracting rabies via an animal bite or scratch. With this information, it was determined if any changes to the current rabies control program need to be made. Furthermore, the data gave further insight on who is more at risk to being exposed to the rabies virus, which can be used by public health officials in rabies prevention programs.

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