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

Case Report and Findings

On December 20, 2017, a shipment of four rescue dogs arrived at JFK from Cairo, Egypt. Two transporters and one owner retrieved the dogs, with planned distribution to foster homes and permanent owners in Connecticut, Maryland, and Virginia. A fifth dog on the flight, traveling with a separate flight parent and not part of this shipment, shared the cargo hold and was temporarily housed in New Jersey and West Virginia before reaching its Washington destination. One of the four dogs, a male Chihuahua mix aged 6 months (dog A), was noticeably agitated and bit the flight parent before boarding the plane in Egypt. Dog A was imported with tooth fractures and exposed maxillary bone, reportedly from being struck by a car in autumn 2017.

On assessment at a Connecticut veterinary clinic on December 21, dog A exhibited hyperesthesia (increased sensitivity to stimuli) and paresis. The dog bit a veterinary technician during a blood draw procedure and died shortly thereafter. The clinic submitted brain tissue for rabies testing to CDPHL. On December 26, CDPHL confirmed rabies virus infection by direct fluorescent antibody testing and informed CDC. On December 28, CDC confirmed the direct fluorescent antibody results and determined the variant was consistent with Africa 4 subspecies canine rabies virus circulating in Egypt (Figure).


Egyptian dog (bolded for both 2017 and 2015 isolates groups) with other available Egyptian strains as Africa 4 subspecies canine rabies virus (RABV Africa 4) subspecies*
*Phylogenetic tree is constructed from 1350 nucleotides of nucleoprotein gene using BEAST program (http://beast.community). Posterior probabilities were labeled at each branch with probability values between 0 and 1. Branch length is related to the number of nucleotide substitutions. The more substitutions, the longer the branch. More evolved strains will be further from their ancestor.