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Rev Infect Dis. 1988 Nov-Dec;10 Suppl 4:S629-33.

Rabies in the kudu antelope (Tragelaphus strepsiceros).

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Central Veterinary Laboratory, Windhoek, Namibia.


An epizootic of rabies in the greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) occurred in Namibia during 1977-1983. The virus strain involved in the epizootic proved to be identical to rabies strains found in infected dogs in many African countries. Such a sudden and large outbreak of rabies could not be explained on the basis of the etiologic agent. A thorough investigation into kudu characteristics revealed that the kudu population had increased disproportionally before the epizootic in response to favorable conditions. The social behavior of the kudu, i.e., group browsing on acacia trees, whose thorns cause lesions in the kudu's oral cavity, as well as the excretion of relatively high titers of virus in the saliva of infected animals provide suitable conditions for transmission in the kudu population after initial infection through the jackal or other species. These factors offer an explanation for this epizootic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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