The geographic distribution of enzootic rabies in raccoons is currently limited to Florida and Georgia. The enzootic area has steadily expanded northward into Georgia during the 1960's. An epizootic in a population of raccoons closely associated with the human residents of a small, off-shore island was investigated. Forty-seven raccoons from the island were confirmed rabies positive by the State Laboratory from January 22 to May 20, 1969. About 10 percent of the raccoons trapped during the peak of the epizootic were positive and all of these had high titers of virus in their salivary glands but were asymptomatic in behavior. Human exposure typically resulted from close approach to a “sick” raccoon. Similar outbreaks may occur elsewhere when humans live in close contact with a semi-domesticated raccoon population. Rabies vaccination of raccoons should be considered as an alternative to population reduction in such situations.

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