Please Explain: Rabies

Friday, July 26, 2013

Rabies is a virus most often transmitted through the bite of an infected animal, and it has been around as long as humans have. Veterinarian Monica Murphy and  journalist Bill Wasik, authors of Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus, explain the history, science, and cultural mythology surrounding rabies—and how it has spawned stories of pandemic, werewolves, and zombies.


Monica Murphy and Bill Wasik

Comments [9]

Ande from NJ

As a kid, I remember hearing that the reason raccoons seemed to "wash their food" was in fact because they had no saliva glands. If so, how do they spread rabies through bites, saliva, etc.?

Jul. 26 2013 01:54 PM

I realize this segment is about rabies but since cats were mentioned, let me just mention that people should be no less concerned about the threat of Toxoplasmosis. Pregnant women should not handle cat litter and if they must, be sure to use protective gloves.

Jul. 26 2013 01:52 PM
Anne from Toronto area

Another Louis Pasteur account: On a trip to visit relatives in Ireland, we were told the story of our late great Irish uncle, Nicholas Maher, who was bitten by a rabid dog as a young child. His life was saved by a trip to France and treatment by Louis Pasteur. This account was supported with a newspaper clipping documenting the event.

Jul. 26 2013 01:50 PM
SKV from NYC

I was bitten two days ago by a cat that has been living in my yard with her kittens for two months and has been on my porch for a week. Acting normal but feral. Now she's at a shelter, still acting normal. The CDC website says I don't need a shot unless the animal shows signs - is that right?

Jul. 26 2013 01:40 PM

My dog was bitten in North Hudson Co. park - by a rat, who was part of a colony that had taken over underground warrens of groundhogs. I had to get the dog an extra rabies shot, but I was assured that rats seem to have a low incidence of rabies. Is this so?

Jul. 26 2013 01:37 PM
John A

I've gotten the rabies shot for my pet, now why can't I get a shot for me too?

Jul. 26 2013 01:37 PM
Gary from Port Washington NY

Can Rabies spread through shared water bowls between animals? If you get rabies shots for your pet, how long is that vaccines good for? Are there rabies shots for people, especially people who work in animal hospitals?

Jul. 26 2013 01:32 PM
Lisa from Forest Hills, NY

my dogs have been getting rabies shots for the past almost 10 years with no reaction aside from minor fatigue. This year one of them got her annual rabies shot in April and got very sick digestively immediately after. Last week another of them got her annual rabies shot and the following day would not move, eat or drink for almost 48 hours, plus had an intense rash near the injection site. Our vet said these reactions could not be related to the rabies shots. What do you think?

Jul. 26 2013 01:31 PM
Penny from Downtown

Here is the clip of Atticus Finch shooting the rabid dog:

Jul. 26 2013 01:31 PM

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