A Tale of Two Worlds: Public Health Management Decisions in Human Rabies Prevention

Rupprecht, Charles E.
July 2004
Clinical Infectious Diseases;7/15/2004, Vol. 39 Issue 2, p281
Academic Journal
This article presents a commentary note on an article reporting a study of survival of naturally infected rabid dogs and cats. This study supports recommendations that dogs and cats that are suspected of being rabid should be euthanized and examined or confined and observed for 10 days. Rabies is an acute, progressive, incurable encephalitis, whose causative agents are found in the family Rhabdoviridae, genus Lysscwirus. Dogs remain the primary reservoir in developing countries, whereas wild species serve as hosts in developed nations. Coupled with mitial detection of overt clinical changes, the only affirmed method of diagnosis, well into the late 19th century, was confinement and observation of the dog until it died. Thus basic reliance upon observation of animals enhanced detection of the characteristic pathology. Such deliberations were doubly critical during the era of neural-tissue vaccines and the associated high rates of serious adverse events, because a negative finding meant that vaccination could cease.


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