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Animals 2011, 1(4), 326-342;

Canine Rabies: A Looming Threat to Public Health

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Building C, Room 506, Rome, 00100, Italy
Received: 15 August 2011 / Revised: 13 September 2011 / Accepted: 22 September 2011 / Published: 26 September 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoonotic Diseases of Companion Animals)
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Simple Summary

This review is guided by three questions: What is canine rabies? Why is it a looming threat to public health? Why should we care about canine rabies being a public health threat? It seeks to answer these questions and notes that canine rabies is viral zoonosis with dogs being the major vectors. The disease is a looming threat to public health because rabid dogs bite humans, resulting in thousands of deaths every year. We should care about this evolving situation because, in general, rabies is a neglected disease for which there are vaccines, preventive measures, post-exposure prophylaxis, and control protocols.


Rabies is an acute, fatal viral disease that infects domestic and wild animals and is transmissible to humans. Worldwide, rabies kills over 55,000 people every year. The domestic dog plays a pivotal role in rabies transmission. Domestic dogs are not only part of our daily lives but also of our immediate surroundings, and this is reflected in the rise in pet dog ownership in developed and developing countries. This is important given that more frequent exposures and interactions at the animal-human interface increases the likelihood of contracting zoonotic diseases of companion animals. Despite existing vaccines and post-exposure prophylactic treatment, rabies remains a neglected disease that is poorly controlled throughout much of the developing world, particularly Africa and Asia, where most human rabies deaths occur. It is believed that with sustained international commitments, global elimination of rabies from domestic dog populations, the most dangerous vector to humans, is a realistic goal. View Full-Text
Keywords: canines; rabies; public health; zoonoses canines; rabies; public health; zoonoses
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Burgos-Cáceres, S. Canine Rabies: A Looming Threat to Public Health. Animals 2011, 1, 326-342.

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