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Neurology. 1998 Sep;51(3):856-9.

Rabies: a possible explanation for the vampire legend.

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Servicio de Neurología, Hospital Xeral, Vigo (Galicia), Spain.


In the 18th century, belief in vampires--allegedly dead persons who left their graves and killed people and animals--raised great concern in the Balkans and an extensive debate in Europe. This historic phenomenon still awaits a comprehensive explanation. This article proposes that rabies may have played a key role in the development of the vampire legend, given the coincident time of the phenomena and the striking similarities between them.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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