Factors Impacting the Control of Rabies
Rabies is a classical zoonosis that has been known to man for ages. The disease can be caused by several viral species in the Lyssavirus genus, but the type species, rabies virus (RABV), is by far the most important from a zoonosis perspective. The extreme neurotropism of RABV and the evolutionarily conserved elements and structures of the mammalian brain suggest that this virus evolved an ultimate niche for replication, simultaneously exploiting classical social behavior of a wide diversity of
... hosts among the chiropters and carnivores. There is substantial evidence that RABV originated in bats and later switched hosts to yield globally disseminated canine rabies. Following the revolutionary work of Louis Pasteur, control and elimination of dog rabies was achieved in Europe, but widespread colonial introduction of European strains of dog RABV to other parts of the world occurred. Thus, dog rabies spread rapidly in the 1900s, and today the vast majority of the tens of thousands of annual human rabies cases stem from dog rabies, which has become endemic in the entire developing world. The fact that human rabies is preventable, through control in the dog reservoir on one hand and through effective prophylaxis in cases of exposure on the other hand, is an indictment of public health strategies and practices. This article discusses some of the drivers that have contributed to the recurrent neglect of rabies in the modern world, as well as evolving One Health-based rabies control partnerships and initiatives that have been progressive, productive, and promising of true global benefits.