Rabies Virus is an RNA virus that comes in the shape of a bullet, and is widely prevalent among animals in many tropical countries. Between 35,000 and 50,000 people die from rabies each year – most of them occurring in Asia.
Dogs, foxes, wolves and jackals are the major reservoirs of rabies in most parts of the world. Rabies in a dog is usually ‘furious’ – infected dogs run around emitting a high-pitched bark, biting not only people but also objects. Bats can also transmit the virus to humans.
Once contracting rabies, it causes a great deal of suffering and is almost invariably fatal. Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms. Pre-exposure immunisation is available but post-exposure vaccine and rabies immune globulin is key.
Reservoir Dogs (February, 2015)