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Nationwide, rabies commonly occurs in bats, skunks, fox, coyotes, raccoons, and a wide variety of other wildlife species. In Michigan, rabies occurs most commonly in bats (averaging 20-30 a year prior to 1998, 40-60 from 1999 to 2002). In most years, a small number of skunks (1-2) are also diagnosed with the disease. Historically, skunks were the main wildlife species affected, but this trend changed in the late 1970s when bats became the primary species. This trend continues today. Most cases of rabies occur in bats in the southern portion of the Lower Peninsula, but this may be more of a reflection of the human population distribution in the State and the resultant increased likelihood of having contact with a rabid animal. The majority of human rabies deaths in the last 20 years in the United States have been caused by the rabies virus from bats. Michigan's last fatal case of human rabies was due to the bat-strain of rabies as well.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Rabies Website
This page is maintained by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources