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Epidemiology and control of rabies in central europe

, : Epidemiology and control of rabies in central europe. Zeitschrift fuer Saeugetierkunde 44(1): 36-46

The role of the fox (Vulpes vulpes L.) as principal vector of rabies virus in this region is supported by a large volume of scientific data obtained by a WHO/FAO coordinated wildlife research program. Other animal species, especially mustelids, are only secondarily involved and no independent cycles of transmission have developed. Rodents play no actual role in epidemiology. Variants of the rabies virus, isolated in several regions in rodents, apparently have no public health importance. Chains of infections in dogs and cats are very rare events and, if occurring, they only comprise a short sequence of cases. These animals are important transmitters between wildlife and man. The necessary interruption of the chain of infection to man and domestic animals can only be achieved by the reduction of the fox population. In combination with an increased immunoprophylaxis of domestic animals and the improvement of postexposure treatment in man this controlling procedure is justified by the present epidemiological situation. Since the necessary reduction of the fox poses some problems, intensified research of the immunoprophylaxis in this speies is mandatory.

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