Rabies from dog bites persisent problem Latin America and worldwide

Posted on December 28, 2015 • Filed under: Health, Latin America Health, Latin America News

discovermagazine.com reported this past spring, a street dog and her puppy were captured in Cairo, Egypt. Her vaccination certificates were forged, and she was shipped to the United States by an animal rescue organization in a shipment that included seven other dogs and 27 cats. Days later, following her placement in a Virginian foster home housing several other dogs, this rescue developed the frank signs and symptoms of rabies, and she was quickly euthanized.

Though there are several strains of rabies virus worldwide, the United States has been free from the canine strain of rabies associated with direct dog-to-dog transmission since 2007. In 1944, there were approximately 9,000 rabid dogs in the United States; by 2009, this number had declined to just 79 due to the widespread implementation of the rabies vaccine and successful efforts to control stray dogs

Canine rabies, however, remains stubbornly endemic in dogs throughout much of the world, including Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and parts of South and East Asia. In these regions, the disease is a significant public health burden – the majority of the annual 55,000 human deaths caused by the fatal brain infection can be attributed to the bite of an infected dog. It is also an entirely preventable disease, with preventative vaccines available for dogs and post-bite or “post-exposure” prophylaxis (PEP) for humans. Both immunizations, however, can be prohibitively expensive in developing nations, which accounts for much of the prevalence and mortality of rabies abroad.

Every state in America requires that dogs be vaccinated against rabies. There are also federal regulations which stipulate that dogs imported from regions where rabies is endemic must be vaccinated. For each dog imported into the States, customs and border officials require valid certificates that document, amongst many other details, the date of the rabies vaccination and its expiration, the vaccine product information, and the name, license number, address, and signature of the veterinarian who administered the vaccination.. Read Article“>Read Article

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