Medicine And The Media

Can we outfox rabies?

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 23 March 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:785
  1. Diana N J Lockwood

    In our rabies free islands most of us give little thought to this disease except when passing through customs or worrying about illegal entry of rabid French foxes through the Channel tunnel. After watching this Encounters programme no one can be in any doubt about the worldwide extent and the human and animal cost of rabies infection.

    Rabies is seen through the eyes of Sarah Cleveland, a young English vet working in the Serengeti Park, Tanzania. Here she has noticed an increase in rabies in infected bat eared foxes and dogs, with increasing risk of transmission to cattle and humans. Grim footage of a 9 year old boy foaming at the mouth and writhing in his cot made abundantly clear the distress caused by rabies. In Tanzania post-exposure vaccine is both in short supply and expensive (more than $100 per shot), and an elderly man tells how his sister delayed getting vaccine after a bite, eventually travelling to Kenya to borrow money from …

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