Rabies in a Dog Imported From Azerbaijan — Pennsylvania, 2021

Pennsylvania, 2021

Florence Whitehill, DVM; Sarah Bonaparte, MPH; Claire Hartloge; Lauren Greenberg, MS; Panayampalli S. Satheshkumar, PhD; Lillian Orciari, MS; Michael Niezgoda, MS; Pamela A. Yager; Emily G. Pieracci, DVM; Jacquelyn McCullough, MPH; Anders Evenson; Clive M. Brown, MBBS; Hannah Schnitzler, DVM; Beth Lipton, DVM; Kimberly Signs, DVM; Mary Grace Stobierski, DVM; Connie Austin, DVM, PhD; Staci Slager, DVM; Mark Ernst, DVM; Janna Kerins, VMD; Aliza Simeone, VMD; Amber Singh, DVM; Shelby Hale, MPH; Danielle Stanek, DVM; Patrick Shehee, MPH; Sally Slavinski, DVM; Darby McDermott, DVM; Patricia A. Zinna, DVM; Rebecca Campagna, DVM; Ryan M. Wallace, DVM


Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2022;71(20):686-689. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


On June 16, 2021, rabies virus infection was confirmed in a dog included in a shipment of rescue animals imported into the United States from Azerbaijan. A multistate investigation was conducted to prevent secondary rabies cases, avoid reintroduction of a dog-maintained rabies virus variant (DMRVV), identify persons who might have been exposed and would be recommended to receive rabies postexposure prophylaxis, and investigate the cause of importation control failures. Results of a prospective serologic monitoring (PSM) protocol suggested that seven of 32 (22%) animals from the same shipment as the dog with confirmed rabies virus infection and who had available titer results after rabies vaccine booster had not been adequately vaccinated against rabies before importation. A requirement for rabies vaccination certificates alone will not adequately identify improper vaccination practices or fraudulent paperwork and are insufficient as a stand-alone rabies importation prevention measure. Serologic titers before importation would mitigate the risk for importing DMRVV.