Date of this Version
In 1994, the canine rabies epizootic in South Texas was declared a state health emergency; a statewide rabies quarantine was enacted in 1995. Prior to 1988, rabid coyotes (Canis latrans) were reported only infrequently in Texas. In 1988, Stan and Hidalgo Counties, located In extreme South Texas, experienced an epizootic of canine rabies resulting in 11 laboratory-confirmed cases of canine rabies in domestic dogs and 6 cases in coyotes. By 1991, the epizootic had expanded approximately 100 miles north of the US-Mexico border and included 10 counties. During the next 3 % years, 10 additional counties became involved in the epizootic as it continued to move northward. There have been 644 cases of canine rabies documented in this 20-county area from 1988-95. Antigenic and genetic analysis revealed the ecotype primarily affecting domestic dogs and coyotes in South Texas to be urban Mexican dog (UMD). The epizootic is approaching large metropolitan areas. An increase in vaccination levels of domestic animals would help provide a barrier between rabid wild animals and humans.