A recent outbreak of rabies in raccoons, Procyon lotor (L.), in Loudoun County, Virginia (1981–82), prompted a study of the epidemiology of the disease. Parameters studied included the occurrence and movement of the disease over time, sex and age relationships, and behavior patterns of raccoons. During the 18 mo, 427 raccoons were tested, of which 75% were infected with rabies virus. Interpretation of rainfall data and the subsequent spatial occurrence of infected raccoons within the county indicated a cause and effect relationship. The submission rate of female raccoons was greater than that of males. The female raccoons (adult and juvenile) were also found to be infected with the virus more often than the males. Behavior of infected raccoons in a rural environment was similar to those observed in the southeastern United States during earlier epizootics of rabies. The presence of a skunky odor on infected raccoons may be a characteristic of raccoon rabies.
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