PETER H. RUSSELL, BVSc,
PhD, FRCPath, MRCVS
Department of Pathology and
Infectious Diseases, The Royal
Royal College Street,
London NW1 OTU.
E-mail Web site
Students should be able to:
• Describe rabies pathogenesis in mammals,
• Relate rabies epidemiology in different
countries to the control measures used.
• Name the four requirements in the rabies
control strategy recently introduced as an
alternative to quarantine in the UK.
(Rhabdo = rod )
Notifiable; zoonotic; rare in UK
but several cases have been
Non-fatal infections are rare but skunks
and foxes may recover; dogs can have mild
symptoms, recover and remain as
excretors. Recovered animals have
antibodies. These infections are important
in spreading the virus in the environment.
ANTIGENICITY: only one type
required in vaccine
HOST RANGE: All mammals are
susceptible including bats
The strategy depends on whether rabies
is endemic or whether the country is free
Virus endemic countries:
• Rabies targets the nervous system and brain
causing a fatal infection; transmitted by biting as
virus in saliva; zoonotic.
• Rabies-free countries aim to keep rabies out by
quarantine; countries with endemic rabies in
wildlife control rabies by reducing wildlife
numbers +/- vaccination of wildlife.
• In the UK, the Pet Travel Scheme has been
introduced to replace quarantine but for
movements between specified countries only.