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rabies outbreaks

Susan Neill - 7515 SNEILL at LABA.TDH.TEXAS.GOV
Wed Mar 22 11:00:21 EST 1995

> To:            virology at net.bio.net
> From:          kfischer at gpu.srv.ualberta.ca (Karl Fischer)
> Subject:       Re: HIV-1 vs HIV-2
> Date:          Tue, 21 Mar 1995 19:50:45 +0100

> In article <3knksl$gr5 at cisunix1.dfci.harvard.edu>,
> york at mbcrr.dfci.harvard.edu (Ian A. York) wrote:
> > In article <3kk1i6$439t at pegasus.unm.edu> bhjelle at unm.edu writes:
> > >
> > >Again, I don't understand the firm connection in your mind between
> > >transmissability and virulence. These concepts should be dissociated.
> > 
> >         I may have missed this somewhere; there is one very obvious 
> > example of a very successful virus with very high virulence and high
> > transmissibility - rabies.  It's as near as dammit to 100% lethal, it 
> > moves pretty fast once it hits the brain (i.e. relatively short window of 
> > transmissibility) and yet is perfectly capable of large scale epidemics, 
> > which indicate how transmissible it can be.
> Hmmm..."large scale epidemics" of rabies...I know it is endemic in the fox
> population in certain areas of Europe but I've never heard of an epidemic
> of rabies. Anyone??
> Karl
> Karl Fischer
> kfischer at gpu.srv.ualberta.ca
> tyr-2 at bones.biochem.ualberta.ca
There are are number of rabies epizootics and enzootics in the 
United States alone.  In Texas, we have a major epizootic going 
on in coyotes in south Texas.  It has been spreading so fast 
that we initiated a wildlife vaccine campaign last month to try 
and control it.  We also have an epizootic of fox rabies in west 
Texas.  Skunk rabies is enzootic throughout the state, as is bat 
rabies.  The east coast of the United States has a major 
epizootic of raccoon rabies that has been going on for several 
years.  There are several additional enzootics of rabies in the US.  

Currently, approximately 20,000 people a year die in India from 
rabies.  This is due to an epizootic in dogs.  There are many 
other areas of the world with problems with rabies.

Susan U. Neill, Ph.D.
Supervisor, Medical Virology Branch
Texas Department of Health

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