Rabies is “almost always” transmitted by bites and “almost invariably” fatal once disease develops in a person or animal. We use a lot of these kinds of disclaimers with infectious diseases, which can be frustrating, but it’s necessary because exceptional (strange) things occasionally occur.

A report in an upcoming edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases (

Rabies vaccination of dogs is legally required in many areas. In most of those, it must be given by a veterinarian, unlike some other vaccines that can be purchased from a veterinarian or supplier and administered by owners.

Why does a veterinarian have to administer rabies vaccines? There are a few reasons.

  • One is that

I’m taking a Brucella break to post a few interesting rabies stories.

More rabies in Nunavut

A rabies warning was issued to residents of Taloyoak, Nunavut in response to identification of rabies in “a number” of dogs and foxes (I’m not sure what that number is).

This isn’t really new, as Arctic fox rabies is

We often talk about rabies in the context of high GDP countries, focusing on wildlife rabies and exposure during travel. However, in many parts of the world, exposure to canine rabies is an ever-present risk, and there can be substantial barriers to getting proper post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) when needed. That’s part of the reason tens

Rabies and distemper are the two things that come to mind first when a raccoon is acting strangely. Rabies is a big concern because it can also be transmitted to people. Distemper is also a viral infection, caused by canine distemper virus, and is transmissible to dogs and some wildlife species, but is not zoonotic.

It’s easy to get complacent about rabies, even when you live in an endemic region. While we have ample bat rabies, Arctic fox rabies and raccoon rabies in Ontario, spillover into domestic animals is relatively rare. Success can breed complacency, though. When control measures work, it’s easy to forget why they are so important.

That’s

I spend a lot of time answering questions about rabies exposures, and sometimes trying to clear up misinformation. Rabies is a very important infectious disease but in many regions (like here) it’s fortunately rare in domestic animals and people. However, rarity can breed complacency or lack of (or loss of) knowledge. That creates problems when