Tuesday, May 25, 2010


URGENT ACTION ALERT FOR CALIFORNIA DOG OWNERS May 14, 2010 Please report broken links

ABOUT THE BILL California bill AB2000 seeks to add a medical exemption clause to exempt dogs from rabies vaccination "that a licensed veterinarian determines, on an annual basis, is currently immune compromised or has a documented medical record of a preexisting condition." This is great and badly needed.

However, on April 5, 2010, they added amendment #2: " In rabies areas, all of the following shall apply: A dog exempt from the canine antirabies vaccination shall be kept quarantined as directed by the local health officer, until the dog's medical condition has resolved and the administration of the canine antirabies vaccine occurs." http://www.leginfo.ca.gov./pub/09-10/bill/asm/ab_1951-2000/ab_2000_bill_20100405_amended_asm_v98.html

Unfortunately, most recently on 12/21/09, Dr. Ben Sun, Interim Chief of California's Veterinary Public Health Section, declared ALL COUNTIES in California as "rabies areas" in 2010. This declaration "is based on the ongoing cyclic nature of rabies in California wildlife, and the resulting threat of exposure to domestic animals, livestock, and humans." Contact Dr. Sun at 916-552-9744 or email ben.sun@cdph.ca.gov http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Documents/2010_LHD_Rabies_Declaration_Letter.pdf

This bill is currently in the Senate Rules Committee for consideration.

The sponsor of the bill says that it their intention to allow exemptions and not quarantine the dogs, and we applaud that, but the language is troubling. Therein lies the problem. The spirit of the law and the letter of the law often differ. It is especially for dogs with chronic, life-long conditions that we are concerned. If a local health official can arbitrarily quarantine an animal, it will surely happen from time to time. The sponsor is currently working on rewording the quaranting section and we await their decision.

The bill is currently in committee and this quarantine language must be stopped there. The phone number for the California Senate Rules Committee is (916) 651-4120 and the Chair of the Committee is Senator Darrell Steinberg (e-mail: Senator.Steinberg@senate.ca.gov Phone: 916-651-4006).

Please contact the committee and Senator Steinberg by email and phone and ask them to stop Amendment 2 to AB2000 regarding quarantine. Do not ask them to kill the bill.

In the meantime, questions to be answered include why, if the situation is so dire as to have to quarantine sick dogs, are cats not required to be vaccinated?


DR. JEAN DODDS, world-renowned California veterinarian and Co-Trustee of the Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust*: “I am definitely alarmed about the negative impact this proposed legislation would have on the health and longevity of dogs legitimately deserving of rabies booster exemptions. The mandate of permanent quarantine as the alternative to forcing these dogs to receive rabies boosters would cause untold pain, suffering and hardship not only for the pet but also the pet owner.

“This proposed legislation is a significant setback to current advancements in standardizing rabies laws nationwide and providing uniform requirements for issuing exemptions, where appropriate, on a case-by-case basis. It would be ironic indeed, if the State of California, believed to be progressive, was to take abig step backwards and enact unwise and unjustified legislation!”

Read the press release by Laura Bates Sterner. http://savelouie.com/pr_vaccine.pdf Her dog Louie has a medical exemption because of rabies vaccinosis.

Sign the petition to protest the quarantine clause of AB2000. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stoprabiesmandate/


The California Veterinary Public Health Section’s own statistics in Reported Animal Rabies by County and Species make abundantly clearthat bats and other wildlife pose the major threat of rabies transmission to the public, not dogs.

From 2006 until April 2, 2010, there was only 1 dog reported in California with rabies, while there were 2 cats, 442 bats, 55 fox, 107 skunks, 1 coyote, and 2 raccoons confirmed rabid. http://www.cdph.ca.gov/healthinfo/discond/Pages/rabies.aspx See "Data and Surveillance."

Dr. Bonnie Sorensen, Chief Deputy of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), wrote in 2008: "Bats and skunks are the most common animals found to be rabid in California. Rabies is rare in dogs, cats, and other domestic animals in California due to vaccination programs and animal control efforts." http://www.cdph.ca.gov/Pages/NR2008-50.aspx

Epidemiologic Summary of Animal & Human Rabies in California 2001-2008, Cummings, Kate; Sun, Ben; et als. Center for Infectious Diseases Branch October 22, 2009

During the surveillance period, 6 human cases of human rabies were reported to CDPH. Four of the 6 human rabies cases resulted from exposures that occurred outside of the US and 2 resulted from bat exposures in California.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) received reports of 1,747 animal rabies cases from 2001 through 2008. Reported animal cases decreased in California by 44.5 percent from 2001 (321) to 2008 (178).
Animal cases occurred in bats (1,276, 73.0 percent), skunks (410, 23.5 percent), foxes (32, 2.3 percent), cats (11, 0.6 percent), dogs (4, 0.2 percent).....

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RABIES VACCINATION -- And an alternative to quarantine

Vaccine manufacturers’ own rabies vaccine labels say to "vaccinate healthy dogs only." Vaccinating a dog who is pronounced too ill -- according to a licensed veterinarian and the state’s licensing officials -- may kill the dog or damage its health further. Even if the dog survives, the vaccine may fail! Thus, the public will believe that the animal is protected but it may not be. Forcing vets to vaccinate the ill dog, or to face the stress of quarantine which may also kill the dog, essentially forces them to commit malpractice.

Veterinarians are vaccinated against rabies in vet school. Most make a determination to revaccinate (if at all) only when blood "antibody titers" fail to show immunity. Although titer testing is widely used in dogs to determine immunity to many diseases, it is not used in rabies because the necessary study would require exposing dogs to rabies and thus has not been done. Surely, veterinarians have not been exposed to rabies to guarantee their own titer levels -- yet they bet their own lives on it.

Hawaii and The European Union have long required adequate rabies serum antibody titer tests before allowing dogs into their rabies-free areas without quarantine. These countries remain rabies free. Testing the titers of medically-exempt dogs would protect the public without quarantine and without damaging the dog’s health. Vaccinating would not. The EU and Hawaii require titers of 0.5 IU/mL to enter their rabies-free countries. In the US, titers of 0.1 IU/mL are considered adequate.

Learn more about rabies vaccination at www.dogs4dogs.com/truth4dogs and www.rabieschallengefund.org Learn more about the dangers of vaccinating sick pets at http://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2009/04/29/vaccinating-sick-dogs-cats/

Write your Senators and Congress members about the necessity of titer testing. And please help to fight the amendment to AB2000.. Even if you don’t have an ill dog now, you may someday.

Who are your state senators and assembly members? Click here: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html


There have been only 38 cases of human rabies in the U.S. from 1995-2006, not one came from a domestic (American dog). 28 of those cases were transmitted by bats and one raccoon; the rest were contracted outside the country.
Annual Surveillance in the United States during:
2006 (PDF – 793 KB)
2005 (PDF – 1.5 MB)
2004 (PDF – 1.7 MB)
2003 (PDF – 1.0 MB)
2002 (PDF – 349 KB)
United States Rabies Surveillance Data, 2006
Each year, scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collect information about cases of animal and human rabies from the state health departments and publish the information in a summary report. The most recent report, entitled "Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2006," contains the epidemiologic information on rabies during 2006. Below is a brief summary of the surveillance information for 2006, including maps showing the distribution of rabies in the United States.

In 2006, 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico tested over 113,000 animals and reported 6,940 cases of rabies in animals and 3 human cases to CDC (Hawaii is the only state that is rabies free). The total number of reported cases increased by 8.2% from those reported in 2005 (6,418 cases).

Wild Animals
Wild animals accounted for 92% of reported cases of rabies in 2006. Raccoons continued to be the most frequently reported rabid wildlife species (37.7% of all animal cases during 2006), followed by bats (24.4%), skunks (21.5%), foxes (6.2%), and other wild animals, including rodents and lagomorphs (0.6%). Reported cases increased among all wild animals during 2006.

Outbreaks of rabies infections in terrestrial mammals like raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotes are found in broad geographic regions across the United States. Geographic boundaries of currently recognized reservoirs for rabies in terrestrial mammals are shown on the map below.

Domestic Animals
Domestic species accounted for 8% of all rabid animals reported in the United States in 2006. The number of reported rabid domestic animals increased among all species during 2006 except cattle which decreased by 11.8% compared to 2005.

In 2006, cases of rabies in cats increased 18.2% compared with the number reported in 2005. The number of rabies cases reported in cats is routinely 3-4 times as that of rabies reported in cattle or dogs. Pennsylvania reported the largest number of rabid domestic animals (72) for any state, followed by Virginia (62). In 2006 approximately 1% of cats and 0.3% of dogs tested for rabies were found positive.

Human Rabies
In this century, the number of human deaths in the United States attributed to rabies has declined from 100 or more each year to an average of 2 or 3 each year. Two programs have been responsible for this decline. First, animal control and vaccination programs begun in the 1940's and oral rabies vaccination programs in the 2000’s have eliminated domestic dogs as reservoirs of rabies in the United States. Second, effective human rabies vaccines and immunolglobins have been developed . All human cases in the United States since 1990 are summarized in the Table of Human Rabies Cases from 1995- 2006 (see table below). The case histories of the ten most recent deaths can be found using the links below.

Puerto Rico – 2003
California – 2003
Florida – 2004
Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas (Transplant Associated Rabies) – 2004
Wisconsin (survivor) – 2004
California – 2004
Mississippi – 2005
Texas – 2006
Indiana – 2006
California – 2006
Cases of rabies in human beings in the United States, by circumstances of exposure and rabies virus variant, 1995-2006* Date of Death State of Residence Exposure History** Rabies Virus Variant*
15 Mar 1995 WA Unknown* Bat, Msp
21 Sep 1995 CA Unknown* Bat, Tb
03 Oct 1995 CT Unknown* Bat, Ln/Ps
09 Nov 1995 CA Unknown* Bat, Ln/Ps
08 Feb 1996 FL Dog bite - Mexico Dog, Mexico
20 Aug 1996 NH Dog bite - Nepal Dog, SE Asia
15 Oct 1996 KY Unknown Bat, Ln/Ps
19 Dec 1996 MT Unknown Bat, Ln/Ps
5 Jan 1997 MT Unknown# Bat, Ln/Ps
18 Jan 1997 WA Unknown# Bat, Ef
17 Oct 1997 TX Unknown# Bat, Ln/Ps
23 Oct 1997 NJ Unknown# Bat, Ln/Ps
31 Dec 1998 VA Unknown Bat, Ln/Ps
20 Sep 2000 CA Unknown# Bat, Tb
09 Oct 2000 NY Dog bite - Ghana Dog, Africa
10 Oct 2000 GA Unknown# Bat, Tb
25 Oct 2000 MN Bat bite - MN Bat, Ln/Ps
01 Nov 2000 WI Unknown# Bat, Ln/Ps
04 Feb 2001 CA Unknown# - Philippines Dog, Philippines
31 Mar 2002 CA Unknown# Bat, Tb
31 Aug 2002 TN Unknown# Bat, Ln/Ps
28 Sep 2002 IA Unknown# Bat, Ln/Ps
10 Mar 2003 VA Unknown# Raccoon, Eastern US
05 Jun 2003 PR Bite Dog/Mongoose, Puerto Rico
14 Sep 2003 CA Bite Bat, Ln/Ps
15 Feb 2004 FL Bite Dog, Hati
03 May 2004 AR Bite (organ donor) Bat, Tb
07 Jun 2004 OK Liver transplant recipient Bat, Tb
09 Jun 2004 TX Kidney transplant recipient Bat, Tb
10 Jun 2004 TX Arterial transplant recipient Bat, Tb
21 Jun 2004 TX Kidney transplant recipient Bat, Tb
survived 2004 WI Unknown# Bat, Unknown
26 Oct 2004 CA Unknown# Dog, El Salvador
27 Sep 2005 MS Unknown# Bat, Unknown
12 May 2006 TX Unknown# Bat, Tb
02 Nov 2006 IN Bite Bat, Ln/Ps
14 Dec 2006 CA Bite Dog, Philippines

* All laboratory-confirmed cases of rabies in human beings who developed the disease in the United States, 1990-2001.

** Data for exposure history are reported only when the biting animal was available and tested positive for rabies; or when plausible information was reported directly by the patient (if lucid or credible); or when a reliable account of an incident consistent with rabies exposure (e.g., dog bite) was reported by an independent witness (usually a family member). #In some instances where the exposure history is unknown, there may have been known or inferred interaction which, especially for bats, could have involved an unrecognized bite.

+ Variants of the rabies virus associated with terrestrial animals in the United States are identified with the name of the reservoir animal (dog or dog/coyote in all cases shown) followed by the name of the most definitive geographic entity (usually the country) from which the variant has been identified. Variants of the rabies virus associated with bats are identified with the name(s) of the species of bat(s) in which they have been found to be circulating. Because information regarding the location of the exposure and the identity of the exposing animal are almost always retrospective, and much information is frequently unavailable, the location of the exposure and the identity of the animal responsible for the infection are often limited to deduction.

Ln/Ps=Lasionycteris noctivagans or Pipistrellus subflavus, the silver-haired bat or the eastern pipistrelle; Msp=Myotis, species unknown; Tb=Tadarida brasiliensis, the Brazilian (Mexican) free-tailed bat; Ef=Eptesicus fuscus, the big brown bat.

Please note: Some of these publications are available for download only as *.pdf files. These files require Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to be viewed. Please review the information on downloading and using Acrobat Reader software.

Page last modified: September 18, 2007
Page last reviewed: September 18, 2007
Content Source: National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, & Enteric Diseases (ZVED)

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