Officials: SD animal rabies cases down in 2013

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The number of animal rabies cases in South Dakota dropped in 2013 after two consecutive years of increases.

State health officials on Thursday reported 28 animal rabies cases in 2013, down from 60 cases in 2012 and 40 in 2011.

State public health veterinarian Russ Daly says the numbers tend to be cyclical.

Detections in 20 South Dakota counties in 2013 included seven domestic animals — five cattle, one dog and one cat — as well as 16 skunks and five bats.

Daly says there are far fewer annual cases compared to 20 or 30 years ago, probably because of vaccinations. But he says as long as there are skunks around, there are going to be rabies cases.

South Dakota hasn't had a human rabies case since 1970.

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