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 United States free of Canine Rabies

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PostSubject: United States free of Canine Rabies   Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:39 pm

Fox News Reports

"Federal Officials Say U.S. Free of Canine Rabies"

Canine rabies has officially been eradicated in the United States, federal officials announced Friday to coincide with World Rabies Day.

“The elimination of canine rabies in the United States represents one of the major public health success stories in the last 50 years,” said Dr. Charles Rupprecht, chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Rabies Program, in a news release. “However, there is still much work to be done to prevent and control rabies globally.”

Rabies in humans is preventable, yet accounts for at least 55,000 deaths annually around the world – almost one death every 10 minutes, according to the CDC.

In the United States, canine rabies elimination was achieved through implementation of dog vaccination and licensing, and stray dog control, federal officials say.

“We remain optimistic that this official declaration of canine-rabies free status in the United States could be replicated throughout the Western Hemisphere and elsewhere.” said Rupprecht, warning that the adoption of dogs from foreign countires with canine rabies could jeopardize this status and highlights the need for global control of the disease.

“The elimination of dog-to-dog transmission of rabies does not mean that people in the U.S. can stop vaccinating their pets against rabies,” said Rupprecht. “Rabies is ever-present in wildlife and can be transmitted to dogs or other pets. We need to stay vigilant.”

Despite the elimination of canine-rabies, the disease remains a human threat in the U.S. particularly from bats. Rabies also remains a potential threat through spillover infections from wildlife to domestic animals particularly cats and dogs, the CDC said.

Reuters Reports

"U.S. is now free of canine rabies virus, CDC says"

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - 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.

While the incubation period for rabies is as long as six years in humans, it is only six months in a dog.

"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."

Rabies kills 55,000 people a year globally, according to the World Health Organization. It is easily prevented with a vaccine, but many people do not realize they have been infected and once symptoms begin to show, it is almost impossible to treat.

Only one person -- a Wisconsin girl who was put into an intentional coma in 2004 -- has ever been known to have survived rabies infection.

Rupprecht said attempts to treat three victims in the United States and one in Canada have failed. The victims all died.

The virus can infect virtually all mammals, but like most viruses it evolves and can be "typed" genetically. Species-specific strains are well characterized for bats, raccoons and skunks for instance, as well as for dogs.

"A dog rabies is very different from a skunk rabies virus," Rupprecht said.

While cats are susceptible, Rupprecht said there is not a known rabies strain specific to domestic cats.

Mandatory vaccination has created what is known as herd immunity in U.S. dogs, Rupprecht said, and it will be vital to continue this to protect dogs -- and people -- from the virus.

"The elimination of canine rabies in the United States represents one of the major public health success stories in the last 50 years," CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said in a statement.

"However, there is still much work to be done to prevent and control rabies globally."

Canine rabies is still very common in many countries, including much of Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, India, China, the Philippines and elsewhere.

Some island nations such as Japan, New Zealand, Barbados, Fiji, Maldives, and Seychelles are rabies-free.

Greece, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Uruguay and Chile are also free of rabies.


References:

Fox News
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,296062,00.html

Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN0741162020070907?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&pageNumber=1
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Location : east Texas
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PostSubject: Re: United States free of Canine Rabies   Mon Sep 17, 2007 4:55 pm

Thanks for posting this. I heard about it on the radio the other day and wanted to read more about it when I got online......thanks for keeping me from having to dig for it Wink lol

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