Rabies in rabbits.. NOT

So as I was leaving class I still had questions as to how and why rabies doesn’t affect rabbits. But guess what Sapolsky, I did some digging and there are many animals that almost never have rabies. So Sapolsky made me think rabbits were really cool for almost no reason. Now I can collectively see furry animals as just furry animals. Rabbits, hamsters, squirrels, chipmunks, guinea pigs, gerbils, opossums, rats, and mice are hardly ever affected with rabies. Birds, fish, bugs, amphibians, & reptiles don’t get rabies either. Essentially it’s warm-blooded animal (including humans) that actually have the chance to become infected with the rabies virus. So I feel silly for thinking rabbits were cool. But I did also continue to wonder why these animals rarely get affected. I dug and dug and hit a wall. All the information I found dealt with how rabies affected animals, not why it didn’t affect others.

Needless to say that if you do get bitten by one of the animals I mentioned above.. you should probably get a tetanus shot or other medical care ASAP.

I got intrigued reading about this and I guess I should give fair warning to anyone visiting the UK in the near future… The threat of re-introduction of rabies virus into the United Kingdom exists on several levels.  Importation of live animals into the UK continues to challenge the regulations in place to ensure that the virus does not enter the country. Not to mention, the indigenous bat population is known to carry a virus genetically related to rabies virus, the European bat lyssavirus, which is genetically distinct from a similar virus that has caused several human deaths across Europe. Finally, a lack of awareness of the threat of rabies and related viruses to travelers visiting endemic areas also constitutes a re-introduction threat to the UK population.

 

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