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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

 

U.S. is now free of canine rabies virus

‘Federal health experts declared a small victory against a fatal and untreatable virus on Friday, saying canine rabies has disappeared from the United States.

While dogs may still become infected from raccoons, skunks or bats, they will not catch dog-specific rabies from another dog, the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

“We don’t want to misconstrue that rabies has been eliminated — dog rabies virus has been,” CDC rabies expert Dr. Charles Rupprecht told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Rabies evolves to match the animals it infects, and the strain most specific to dogs has not been seen anywhere in the United States since 2004, Rupprecht said. [..]

“Even though we still live in a sea of rabies and even though we have rabies viruses circulating among raccoons and foxes and bats, the dog rabies virus, which is the most responsible for dog-to-dog transmission and which is still the greatest burden to humans … it is that virus that has been eliminated.”‘




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