SEMINAR DEDICATED TO NON SCIENTISTS :
INFECTION AND EPIDEMIOLOGY DEPARTMENT, LYSSAVIRUS DYNAMICS AND HOST ADAPTATION
RABIES REFERENCE CENTER
DO WE STILL HAVE TO FEAR RABIES IN 2016 ?
Rabies is a zoonotic disease caused by a neurotropic virus of the Lyssavirus genus. The virus could be transmitted from animal to humans by bite, scratch or by direct exposure of mucosal surfaces to saliva from an infected animal.The rabies virus reaches the brain and once clinical signs appear the disease almost invariably progress to a fatal encephalitis. The onset of rabies clinical symptoms and death can be prevented by an adequate post-exposure prophylaxis including vaccines and if required antirabies immunoglobulins. However, rabies still causes several tens of thousands of human deaths every year worldwide, essentially in the developing world where control measures in dogs are not applied and prophylaxis hardly available for the majority of the population. In France rabies threat has considerably changed since 20 years. Rabies has been officially declared eliminated in terrestrial mammals since 2001 and currently the risk of rabies is limited, in France, to contact with bats or contact with rabid domestic animals illegally imported in the territory from rabies-enzootic countries (mainly North Africa). However the risk of contracting rabies when travelling to endemic countries is still real and must not be neglected.
Scientists are welcomed as well