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Crit Rev Microbiol. 2007;33(4):301-24.


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Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.


Lyssaviruses are the etiological agents of rabies, one of the oldest viral diseases known to man and a disease that has persisted over many centuries. Together with sound diagnostic methods and efficacious vaccines--both of which had been available for many decades, an understanding of the epidemiology of the disease have enabled its control and even elimination in some specific reservoir species in North America and Western Europe. However, worldwide rabies still radiates into new host species and geographical domains and has become vastly underestimated throughout the developing world through lack of awareness, apathy and poor surveillance. As a result, this disease is now more of a global public and veterinary health threat than it has ever been.

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