Rabies in Iowa and the Upper Midwest: What a Rural Practitioner Should Know
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A thorough history of rabies in the United States has been written by Steele,1 who begins by writing that the first reference to rabies in the United States occurred, in dogs, in Virginia and North Carolina, in 1753 and 1762, respectively. An outbreak that occurred in Boston and other North American towns in 1768 is considered the first major epizootic in North America. "Canine madness," as it was called, raged allover colonial North America throughout the late 1700's. Rabies reappeared in the eastern US in 1810 and in Ohio assumed an epizootic character affecting dogs, foxes, and wolves. Steele goes on to report that, following the Civil War, rabies was widespread across most of the USA. Mad dogs were reported in many urban as well as rural areas. Sylvatic rabies was recognized in the eastern US in the 18th century, and in the 19th century the disease was seen in foxes throughout the eastern part of the country.