Rabies in a Dog Imported From Egypt — Connecticut, 2017

Yonette Hercules, MHSc; Nelva J. Bryant, DVM; Ryan M. Wallace, DVM; Randall Nelson, DVM; Gabriel Palumbo, MPH; Jemeila N. Williams, MPH; J. Miguel Ocana, MD; Sheryl Shapiro, MHA; Hilaire Leavitt; Sally Slavinsk, DVM; Alexandra Newman, DVM; David A. Crum, DVM; Brian E. Joseph, DVM; Lillian A. Orciari, MS; Yu Li, PhD; Pamela Yager; Rene E. Condori, MS; Kendra E. Stauffer, DVM; Clive Brown, MBBS


Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2018;67(50):1388-1391. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


In 2007, the United States successfully eliminated canine rabies virus variant. Globally, however, dogs remain the principal source of human rabies infections. Since 2007, three cases of canine rabies virus variant were reported in dogs imported into the United States, one each from India (2007), Iraq (2008), and Egypt (2015).[1–3] On December 20, 2017, a dog imported into the United States from Egypt was identified with rabies, representing the second case from Egypt in 3 years. An Egyptian-based animal rescue organization delivered four dogs from Cairo, Egypt, to a flight parent (a person solicited through social media, often not affiliated with the rescue organization, and usually compensated with an airline ticket), who transported the dogs to the United States. The flight parent arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City and, via transporters (persons who shuttle dogs from one state to another), transferred the dogs to foster families; the dogs ultimately were adopted in three states. The Connecticut Department of Public Health Laboratory (CDPHL) confirmed the presence of a canine rabies virus variant in one of the dogs, a male aged 6 months that was adopted by a Connecticut family. An investigation revealed the possibility of falsified rabies vaccination documentation presented on entry at JFK, allowing the unvaccinated dog entry to the United States. This report highlights the continuing risk posed by the importation of dogs inadequately vaccinated against rabies from high-risk countries and the difficulties in verifying any imported dog's health status and rabies vaccination history.