Rabies Laboratory

Rabies Testing | Specimen Shipping & Packing | Diagnosis in Animals | Rabies in Texas | Reports & Links -

Jump to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) -

 

Important Notice

Due to biohazard safety guidelines, the laboratory is unable to return carcasses submitted for rabies testing to owners or submitters.

Sign up to Receive Rabies Test Results Rapidly

All finalized rabies test reports (positive, non-negative or negative)  are now available through the Laboratory Services Section (LSS) via fax or through the LSS Results-Web Portal.

The LSS will contact you via telephone to report all positive and non-negative test results. 

To obtain access to remote data systems results please click on the link: /lab/remotedata.shtm 

To obtain reports by fax, use the Submitter ID # Request Form found on the laboratory forms page and follow the instructions to update your preference for test report delivery.

If you have questions regarding reporting, please contact Tiffunee Odoms at 512-776-6275. For all Rabies concerns including Rabies shipping, testing requirements and result interpretation, please contact the Rabies Identification Team at 512-776-7595.

The rabies laboratory at the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) Laboratory Services Section in Austin is the primary rabies diagnostic laboratory in the State of Texas; it serves as a rabies reference laboratory for other laboratories in Texas, as well as for adjacent states in the US and Mexico. Information is exchanged/shared via email with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other experts in the field. The laboratory coordinates closely with the Zoonosis Control Branch, and all non-negative results are transmitted to the Public Health Regions, via phone or email, after the results are completed.

The laboratory receives between 8,000 and 10,000 animal specimens annually for rabies testing. Routine testing is done by direct fluorescent antibody staining. In addition to diagnostic testing, the laboratory types all positive specimens by either monoclonal antibody stainingrestriction digest typing, or nucleotide sequencing to determine the variant of rabies virus present in the animal. Typing information is used to follow the spread of rabies through animals and across the state. This information has proven to be extremely useful in defining the vaccine drop zone for the Oral Rabies Vaccination Program (ORVP) of wild animals in order to combat rabies epizootics in coyotes in south Texas and foxes in west Texas. 


Rabies Frequently Asked Questions

 


How much time is required to do rabies testing?

See Turnaround Time and Reporting of Rabies Results

How do I submit a specimen for rabies testing?

See Specimen Submission Guidelines

Notice: Due to biohazard safety guidelines, the laboratory is unable to return carcasses submitted for rabies testing to owners or submitters.

 

Will the laboratory test rodents?

Rodents are not normally associated with rabies, therefore testing of rodents is discouraged. However, if a rodent was wild (as opposed to cage raised) and bit a person in an unprovoked attack, the laboratory will test the rodent.

What does an "unsatisfactory" report for rabies mean?

See Result Interpretation

What does an "inconclusive" report for rabies mean?

See Result Interpretation

The specimen was frozen by mistake. Can it still be tested?

The specimen may still be submitted for testing; however, freezing and thawing of brain material causes two problems for rabies testing. (1) The thawed brain will be very soft and mushy making it difficult to identify the various parts of the brain. If the parts can be identified a specimen will be tested as normal. If the parts cannot be adequately identified, the material will be tested and reported "positive" if the material appears positive, but will be reported "unsatisfactory" if the material does not appear positive. (2) Repeated freeze-thaw cycles may reduce test sensitivity and should be avoided. Freezing and thawing the brain may actually inactivate the virus. This is not a problem for the direct fluorescent antibody test-- this test is not dependent on viable virus but only on the presence of viral antigen, however, it may compromise additional testing, such as culture for confirmation of specimens that are difficult to interpret by the direct fluorescent antibody test.

How much it will cost to test the rabies specimen?

The Texas Department of State Health Services does not charge for rabies testing. However, the TDSHS will not pay shipping charges.

The specimen looks decomposed/destroyed, smelly, green, etc. What should I do?

You should still submit the specimen to the Laboratory for testing. It is sometimes difficult to predict the condition of the brain by viewing the condition of the exterior of the head. The personnel in the Laboratory will necropsy the specimen and make a decision as to the suitability for testing, based on the brain material itself. If there is any material present at all, it will be tested. If that material is positive for rabies, the specimen will be reported "positive." If that material is not positive, and the technologist determined that the specimen was either too decomposed or destroyed for the test to be reliable, the specimen will be reported "decomposed" or "destroyed," based on the condition of the brain material.

What do I need to do to have my serum, or that of my animal, tested to determine response to a rabies vaccine?

Follow the submission instructions provided by the Kansas State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

How do I contact someone in the Rabies Laboratory?

Call (512) 776-7595.

What if I still have questions related to rabies?

Click here to view the CDC Questions and Answers about Rabies

Rabies Testing | Specimen Shipping & Packing | Diagnosis in Animals | Rabies in Texas | Reports & Links | Back to Rabies Laboratory

Reports

Human rabies cases in the US 1950 - Present
   (PDF file, 21k, viewing information)

Human cases attributed to bat rabies variants in the US
   (From the DSHS Zoonosis Control Group)

Rabies Trends in Texas - Incidence 1953 to 2008

Click the < Back and Next > buttons to cycle through this slide show. 
To see a specific item, click the links below the buttons.

 

Positive Animals 1953 - 2008

Rabies Trends in Texas Graphs
Images:

Rabies in Texas

Rabies in Texas - 1953 to 2008
Year Skunk Fox Bat Raccoon Dog Cat Coyote Other Totals
53 45 152 0 0 999 68 0 70 1334
54 71 100 0 0 838 55 0 57 1121
55 59 79 0 0 458 20 0 35 651
56 72 138 0 0 430 30 0 59 729
57 27 133 4 0 286 30 0 54 534
58 45 106 40 3 243 21 0 33 491
59 145 175 23 1 138 37 0 48 567
60 164 128 19 1 153 41 0 55 561
61 342 30 45 1 134 42 1 63 658
62 258 39 31 3 93 27 1 78 530
63 235 66 22 7 106 28 2 58 524
64 159 28 19 4 69 31 0 38 348
65 162 25 25 5 88 25 0 60 390
66 176 27 34 3 94 41 2 59 436
67 152 27 44 6 86 32 3 35 385
68 111 25 13 6 54 14 0 35 258
69 104 35 42 6 67 30 0 36 320
70 109 20 23 2 18 14 1 35 222
71 186 26 35 1 17 20 0 32 317
72 188 21 56 3 14 13 1 38 334
73 139 31 21 4 7 17 2 43 264
74 132 35 63 10 89 9 0 45 383
75 177 13 67 1 24 20 0 23 325
76 201 8 59 5 28 12 1 15 329
77 254 4 46 0 45 13 0 20 382
78 447 6 46 3 9 17 1 27 556
79 857 28 118 8 82 48 2 52 1195
80 643 46 95 8 46 34 4 69 945
81 515 25 79 5 12 22 0 40 698
82 536 13 123 4 21 42 2 55 796
83 522 16 89 2 13 27 0 55 724
84 526 6 118 2 9 19 0 39 719
85 404 4 100 3 27 22 0 29 589
86 275 11 132 1 14 13 2 22 470
87 278 15 66 3 29 19 0 22 432
88 266 20 57 4 21 30 6 30 434
89 231 12 72 6 43 12 7 23 406
90 117 24 50 2 40 13 3 19 268
91 209 37 59 13 36 17 46 30 447
92 182 33 69 7 56 16 70 38 471
93 151 42 150 20 54 21 71 24 533
94 78 144 94 68 53 27 77 49 590
95 69 137 123 41 55 25 80 60 590
96 78 60 120 25 15 10 19 24 351
97 94 13 121 5 11 2 7 13 266
98 116 21 104 5 15 8 6 28 303
99 192 56 90 4 13 21 2 22 400
00 550 41 164 9 19 17 2 28 830
01 778 15 194 9 16 13 0 18 1043
02 740 48 167 12 15 24 1 42 1049
03 625 28 166 11 19 22 3 34 908
04 534 16 269 12 19 22 0 38 910
05 392 23 257 27 8 12 0 22 741
06  351  31  432  19  13  10  32  889 
07 362 32 482 17 12 14 21 29 969
08 391 14 548 16 15 15 6 14 1019
Totals 15222 2488 5485 443 5388 1304 453  2151 32934

Links

Note: External links to other sites are intended to be informational and do not have the endorsement of the Texas Department of State Health Services. These sites may also not be accessible to people with disabilities.

For rabies results in Texas by county (from DSHS Zoonosis Control Group)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rabies Site

World Health Organization Rabnet

Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine - Rabies Lab

All the Virology on the WWW

Pasteur Institute

Rabies Vaccine