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See Inside Scientific American Volume 309, Issue 2

Experts Urge Mass Dog Vaccination to Eradicate Rabies

Some rabies infections may not be lethal, but be especially wary of dog bites

Perhaps vaccinating dogs will seem like a more workable plan once researchers figure out how to do away with injections, which require rounding up animals, as well as proper refrigeration and storage of the inoculations. A few especially promising projects spread food pellets laced with vaccines, similar to the blocks of treated fishmeal that have been used to control raccoon rabies in the U.S. Some of the food pellets also include sterilizing contraceptives to reduce numbers of unvaccinated newborns and shrink the size of stray populations.

Rupprecht points out that if such vaccines, still in development for dogs, can be commercialized, they would find a ready market in China and India, the countries with the largest populations of strays and the most deaths from rabies. The necessary business know-how and technical acumen are already in place: China and India happen to be the biggest vaccine-manufacturing countries in the developing world.

This article was originally published with the title "Rethinking Rabies."

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