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Rabies a Zoonotic Disease

Courtesy of Dr. Mats Abatzidis of Nobivac

The Latin word ‘rabidus’ means ‘mad’, which is the traditional understanding of the consequences of getting infected with the Rabies virus. A zoonotic disease is one that an animal can contract and then has the potential to transmit it to or infect human beings. The latter means that an animal infected with Rabies has the potential to transmit the disease and infect humans that come in contact with the animal in one way or another. Disease caused by the rabies virus is one that is considered extremely serious due to the very high numbers of mortality or deaths. There are 55,000 human cases of human rabies every year, worldwide. Survival rate is very low. Only one human survivor has been identified thus far, that wasn’t previously vaccinated for rabies. Another five human survivors have been recorded in the history books; however, they had received rabies immunization before been exposed to the infection.

Researchers differentiate between Sylvatic Rabies, which is rabies occurring in wild animals, and Urban rabies which is primarily dog rabies. The actual rabies virus itself is bullet-shaped, sensitive to sunlight and ultraviolet radiation, and can be deactivated by various chemical that are heat detergents, halogens and/or lipid solvents.

Dog rabies is further classified into two main biotypes in southern Africa. “Biotypes” refers to the genetic adaptation of the rabies virus within a specified geographical area. First, we have the canid (dog or jackal) biotype, and secondly we have a mongoose biotype.

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Photos courtesy of Showdogs

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