To provide molecular and virologic evidence that domestic dog rabies is no longer enzootic to the United States and to identify putative relatives of dog-related rabies viruses (RVs) circulating in other carnivores, we studied RVs associated with recent and historic dog rabies enzootics worldwide. Molecular, phylogenetic, and epizootiologic evidence shows that domestic dog rabies is no longer enzootic to the United States. Nonetheless, our data suggest that independent rabies enzootics are now established in wild terrestrial carnivores (skunks in California and northcentral United States, gray foxes in Texas and Arizona, and mongooses in Puerto Rico), as a consequence of different spillover events from long-term rabies enzootics associated with dogs. These preliminary results highlight the key role of dog RVs and human–dog demographics as operative factors for host shifts and disease reemergence into other important carnivore populations and highlight the need for the elimination of dog-related RVs worldwide
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