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22864Re: [aapn] (NP) Responding to rabies

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  • Merritt Clifton
    Jun 26, 2014
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      > - what kind of protective clothing should the staff wear

      Anything that keeps bites from penetrating the skin. Here in the U.S. that's usually blue jeans (new, not with holes) and work gloves. Be aware that saliva is also potentially dangerous.

      In other words, if a dog licks you, wash immediately. Transmission of canine rabies through saliva is rare, but can happen. Salival rabies transmission among raccoons when they groom each other is quite common, & raccoon rabies is first cousin to canine rabies.

      > - if doing ring vaccination how to determine the minimum size of vaccination area?

      This has to be site-specific, because so much depends on the habitat and the typical range of the dogs. I'd need to look at maps & photos of the area to make any specific recommendations.

      Probably most experts would advise trying to vaccinate every dog within five kilometers of a known rabies case, but that is just a general guideline. If you have a river on one side that dogs don't cross, and no bridges, you don't need to worry about that side; but if you have a marketplace on the other side, just a few blocks outside the 5-k perimeter, you need to vaccinate the marketplace dogs too.

      > - any tips for catching techniques, etc.

      Your catch teams need to learn to recognize a potential rabid dog. The dog who displays normal territoriality, growling and giving other warnings, usually is not actively rabid. If that dog has rabies, usually it will be still in the "dumb" phase.

      You still need to be careful, of course. But the most dangerous dogs will be those who seem completely docile, because they are burning up with fever. Watch their hindquarters. If they wobble or if the hindquarters give way, never mind the vaccination; just euthanize the dog, because in a rabies area that dog almost certainly is rabid, whether the dog bites or not.

      Dogs who are seething in a rabid frenzy are easily recognized, but are relatively few compared to those who have crawled into somewhere dark & cool to die. The dog lying back in the shade under a stairway may look okay, but don't go crawling in after the dog. Bring the dog out gently with a catch-pole, if you can, and above all don't get within biting range.

      > - Does ring vaccination among dogs make sense if the wildlife goes unmonitored?

      Yes. Rabies strains are specific to their hosts. What this means is that if you have canine rabies in an area, usually only the dogs will have rabies in a latent phase. Other animals, if they contract the canine strain, will usually die from it quite soon.

      In other words, suppose you have dogs, bats, rats, monkeys, cats, and mongooses in a neighborhood where canine rabies appears.

      There are probably always rabid bats about, but most likely they have little or no contact with humans.

      Rats, monkeys, and cats have no endemic rabies strain, so if they get rabies, they will die within a few days. They are unlikely to become carriers. If they transmit rabies, it will only be during their terminal "furious" phase.

      Mongooses have their own rabies strain. They might incubate and carry the canine strain, if infected, but most likely they won't.

      What that means is that if the rabies outbreak appears first among dogs, vaccinating all the dogs you can is your first priority. Vaccinating all the mongooses would be second. You really don't have to worry much about the rats, monkeys, and cats, if you have the vector species covered.


      Merritt Clifton, editor
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