What are preventive measures to control rabies in the animal population?

Updated: Jun 21, 2019
  • Author: Sandra G Gompf, MD, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Because rabies is a zoonosis, primary prevention requires control of rabies in the animal population. In 1997, approximately 100,000 animal brains were tested for rabies virus antigen using a direct fluorescent assay. Of these specimens, 8509 (8.5%) had positive results.

Mass control and mandatory vaccination of domesticated dogs and cats are effective in controlling rabies in the United States; however, developing nations have found cost to be a barrier to such campaigns.

Live viral vaccines containing modified live rabies or recombinant vaccinia-rabies glycoprotein virus, placed in a bait, are used for disease control in Europe and North America. In the United States, more than 22 million doses of vaccinia-rabies glycoprotein vaccine were distributed between 1990 and 2000. The baits were mainly used to control rabies in raccoons in the eastern United States and in foxes and coyotes in Texas. People will inevitably find vaccine-laden baits. Dogs are frequently attracted to the baits and bring them to their owners. Luckily, adverse events are rare.


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