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Vet Q. 2017 Dec;37(1):212-251. doi: 10.1080/01652176.2017.1343516.

Rabies - epidemiology, pathogenesis, public health concerns and advances in diagnosis and control: a comprehensive review.

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a Division of Pathology , ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute , Bareilly , Uttar Pradesh , India.
b Centre for Animal Disease Research and Diagnosis (CADRAD) , ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute , Bareilly , Uttar Pradesh , India.
c Department of Veterinary Microbiology , LLR University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences , Hisar , Haryana , India.
d ICAR-National Institute of Veterinary Epidemiology and Disease Informatics , Bengaluru , Karnataka , India.


Rabies is a zoonotic, fatal and progressive neurological infection caused by rabies virus of the genus Lyssavirus and family Rhabdoviridae. It affects all warm-blooded animals and the disease is prevalent throughout the world and endemic in many countries except in Islands like Australia and Antarctica. Over 60,000 peoples die every year due to rabies, while approximately 15 million people receive rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) annually. Bite of rabid animals and saliva of infected host are mainly responsible for transmission and wildlife like raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes are main reservoirs for rabies. The incubation period is highly variable from 2 weeks to 6 years (avg. 2-3 months). Though severe neurologic signs and fatal outcome, neuropathological lesions are relatively mild. Rabies virus exploits various mechanisms to evade the host immune responses. Being a major zoonosis, precise and rapid diagnosis is important for early treatment and effective prevention and control measures. Traditional rapid Seller's staining and histopathological methods are still in use for diagnosis of rabies. Direct immunofluoroscent test (dFAT) is gold standard test and most commonly recommended for diagnosis of rabies in fresh brain tissues of dogs by both OIE and WHO. Mouse inoculation test (MIT) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are superior and used for routine diagnosis. Vaccination with live attenuated or inactivated viruses, DNA and recombinant vaccines can be done in endemic areas. This review describes in detail about epidemiology, transmission, pathogenesis, advances in diagnosis, vaccination and therapeutic approaches along with appropriate prevention and control strategies.


Rabies; diagnosis; epidemiology; pathogenesis; prophylaxis; review

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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