Top 5 Takeaways

  1. First Instance of Vaccination Failure: Marks the first documented case since 2007 where a rabid dog was imported into the U.S. due to vaccination failure, rather than incomplete or fraudulent paperwork.
  2. Insufficient Vaccination in Shipment: Analysis showed that 22% of the animals from the shipment lacked adequate vaccination, highlighting a serious gap in importation control measures.
  3. Public Health Implications: The incident underscores the insufficiency of relying solely on vaccination certificates for dogs from high-risk countries and suggests the need for serologic testing prior to importation.
  4. Multistate Investigation: Led by the CDC, the investigation into this importation failure prompted a multistate response, emphasizing the extensive coordination needed to prevent potential outbreaks.
  5. Costly Public Health Response: The financial impact of responding to such importation failures is significant, with estimates exceeding $200,000 for a single event, including healthcare and public health response costs.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Florence Whitehill,

Suggested Citation

Whitehill F, Bonaparte S, Hartloge C, et al. Rabies in a Dog Imported from Azerbaijan — Pennsylvania, 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:686–689. DOI: .


This MMWR report details the first instance of a rabid dog imported into the U.S. from Azerbaijan due to a vaccination failure. It highlights the public health challenges and financial implications associated with preventing the reintroduction of dog-maintained rabies virus variants (DMRVV).


The investigation involved serologic testing, multistate coordination, and evaluation of vaccination protocols. These methods underscored the inadequacies in current importation practices and the need for enhanced measures.


The findings suggest significant gaps in the U.S. importation controls for rabies, particularly in verifying the vaccination status of dogs from high-risk countries. The report advocates for improvements, such as mandatory serologic testing and electronic reporting of vaccination statuses.


This case of rabies importation due to vaccination failure illuminates the critical need for stricter importation protocols to prevent the reintroduction of DMRVV in the U.S., highlighting the necessity of reevaluating current health policies and procedures.

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