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History of Rabies

Janos Posfai posfai at neb.com
Fri Mar 8 13:29:43 EST 1996

Ann Tubb (Vatubb at aol.com) :

> ... obtaining as much information as possible concerning the
>history of rabies (i.e. where it was first identified..). This is for a
>project that my 12 year old is doing in school. 
A 13th century Arabian medical text (Abdallah ibn al-Fadl,
Baghdad School) already talks about rabies (A.J.Levine:
Viruses, Scientific American Library, 1991).
In medieval villages, people bitten by wolves were tied to
poles, and given only solid food (using long sticks, to
avoid contact). Those who started begging for water were
considered uninfected, since fear of water is one of the
symptoms of rabies in men. Hence the alternate name "hydrophobia".
The Natural History of Viruses by C.H.Andrewes (W.W.Norton,
1967) has an interesting section on rabies, stories in it
(e.g. rabid skunks terrorizing buffalo hunters) might catch
the attention of your 12 year old.
Janos Posfai

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