PIERRE - The South Dakota Department of Health says animal rabies cases in the state were up in 2012 for the second straight year.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Lon Kightlinger says the disease tends to be cyclical, with years of high case numbers followed by years with lower numbers. But 60 animal rabies cases were reported in 2012, up from 40 the previous year.

There were rabies detections in 29 South Dakota counties during 2012.

The positive tests included 21 domestic animals - 16 cattle, 3 horses, 2 cats - as well as 36 skunks and 3 bats.

South Dakota's last human rabies case was reported in 1970.

Kightlinger says the rabies vaccination is readily available, inexpensive and important to protect pets and the people around them.

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