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Rabies by the Numbers

Rabies in the United States

In the United States, rabies is mostly found in wild animals like bats, racoons, skunks and foxes.

Rabies in the United States (CDC)

Rabies in Indiana

Indiana animals considered to be at highest risk of transmitting rabies to humans include bats, skunks, foxes, raccoons, and coyotes. Dogs and cats can also transmit rabies that they have acquired from wildlife, but pets are rarely found rabid in Indiana. Reptiles and birds never get rabies. Theoretically, rats, mice, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, etc. can transmit rabies, but bites from these animals are not considered a rabies risk in Indiana at this time. Your local health department can help you evaluate the risk of rabies following an animal bite.

Until the early 1960's, most of the rabies cases in Indiana were dogs, cats, and animals bitten by dogs and cats. After pet vaccination increased and animal control programs were established, dog and cat rabies decreased rapidly. From the 1960s to 1988 skunks were the most commonly found rabid animals in Indiana. After 1988 bats became the most common rabid animal. Rabid bats have been found somewhere in the state every year since 1965. Rabies in skunks was last detected in 2004 in Indiana. Rabies in skunks has been restricted to counties in far South Central Indiana, where rabies in skunks continues to be transmitted at a very low level.

Skunk variant rabies was detected in southeastern Indiana for the first time in 20 years in 2024. Active surveillance techniques are currently being implemented to help state and local officials better understand the extent of rabies circulation amongst skunks.  Report sick or dead skunks to Indiana DNR’s Sick or Dead Wildlife Reporting System.

Number of Bats that Tested Positive for Rabies in Indiana, by Year (2008 - 2020)
 2020 12
2019 10
2018 13
2017 14
2016 17
2015 13
2014 12
2013 10
2012 20
2011 33
2010 24
2009 39
2008 11
Most Recent Rabies Cases by Species in Indiana
2023 Bat
2009 Human
2006 Human
2024 Skunk
2002 Horse
1990 Fox
1989 Dog
1986 Cow
1984 Cat
1983 Groundhog
1979 Raccoon
1968 Opossum
1967 Pig, Goat