Ask Dr. Richards

August 2011 Issue

Ask Elizabeth: August 2011

In the U.S. — as in most of the Northern Hemisphere — rabies is a disease of wildlife which occasionally spills over to infect domestic animals and humans. Infection of our pet cats and dogs occurs when unvaccinated animals come into contact with infected wild animals; vaccination provides an important protection to our pets and makes an effective barrier between wildlife rabies and humans. All warm-blooded animals are susceptible to rabies; however, the virus in a particular geographic area is usually a distinct genetic variant that has adapted to preferentially infect a single dominant reservoir host.

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