Jennings, Schneider, Lewis and Scatterday (1960) document the high prevalence of rabies virus present among gray foxes. They further document the fact that these rabid foxes were abundantly found near densely populated human settlements and reportedly attacked humans and other valuable livestock. Florida. Jennings, Schneider, Lewis and Scatterday (1960) however claim, that it is not possible to accurately determine the accurate percentage of deaths occurring due to rabid foxes as during that time, another deadly disease among population of foxes was also reported. Therefore, it cannot be concretely proved that what percentage of them constituted the rabies infected foxes. Jennings, Schneider, Lewis and Scatterday (1960) claim that 33% of rabid animals examined by the Florida State Board of Health Laboratories between the time period of 1948 to 1958 were reported to be gray foxes.
Coming to more recent times, reports issued by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention claims that rabies in the state of Florida has increased to a significant level in a recent past. He further claims that this increase of rabies virus has never been as high in Florida since the 1940s. These reports claim that the primary reason behind this rapid increase of rabies virus is the import of coyotes from Texas by the hunting clubs in Florida. He states that the year 1994 saw a 500% increase in the rabies virus in just five years time. The recent research reports published by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention also assert the fact that translocation of raccoons have been a major contributing factor in the spread of the rabies virus in the eastern parts of the United States of America. Considering this fact, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has passed legislation that prohibits translocation of raccoons into and out of Florida without FWC Permit (Florida Department of Health, 2011).
Rupprecht and Smith (1994) claimed that the rabies virus reemerged in the state of Florida among raccoons. They related this reemergence to the changes in human demographics. According to Rupprecht and Smith (1994), raccoons were abundantly found in densely populated urban and sub-urban settlements.
Jackson (2000) highlighted another important source of rabies transmission. It was generally assumed that rabies can only be transmitted due to bite or scratch. Jackson (2000) reported cases where some recipients of organ transplantations which included lungs, cornea and kidneys, died. On diagnosing the cause of death, the presence of rabies virus was discovered in their bodies. These recipients received their transplanted organs from brain dead donors that were earlier brought in to the hospitals. When medical history of those donors was diagnosed, it was discovered that the donor had a medical history of travelling to areas where rabies viruses were abundantly common. The reason why doctors did not initially focused on this aspect was because technically when an organ is transplanted; it is only tested for its functionality and other relevant eligibility tests. Neurological symptoms are generally not considered in an organ transplantation.
In order to evaluate the prevalence of rabies in the state of Florida, both primary and secondary data was collected and analyzed. Secondary data was collected using previous research journals of wildlife and medicines. Data was also used from statistical reports published by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Primary data was collected by carrying out surveys in hospitals and clinics in different towns of Florida. They were asked about the number of patients they have been receiving for vaccination against rabies and the number of patients that has been diagnosed with rabid.
The following table shows the prevalence of rabies in Florida between 2003 and 2009. This table shows the cases of rabies that were reported in the state of Florida during the said time span.
(Center of Disease Control and Prevention)
The above table shows the dynamics of rabies infection in the state of Florida between 2003 to 2009. The table shows that from 2003 to 2007 the spread of rabies was rising persistently. The spread of the virus reached its peak in the year 2007. It was evidently more common among wild animals as compared to the domestic ones. It is reported that domestic animals primarily get the disease when attacked by wild animals that carry the rabies virus. A total of 1339 cases of rabies were reported between 2003 and 2009. Among these cases raccoons constitute 60.6% of the cases. These were followed by foxes (12.4%) and bats (10.9%) respectively. The remaining 16.1% cases were distributed among other animals mainly cats, dogs and skunks. The figures nevertheless are dominated by raccoons, foxes and bats that have maintained a constant history of carrying rabies since the disease was first discovered in the state of Florida. The reason why spread from raccoons has increased so much is that the spread is catalyzed by interstate translocation of raccoons. According to the above statistics, only one rabid human case was reported during this time period. It must be noted that the statistical table shown above gives information only about the cases that were reported by the authorities. There might still be a high number of rabid animals that are not diagnosed and for that reason there is a high chance that the figures shown in the given table may be highly understated. The threat of rabies virus among domestic animals and humans have however been controlled to a significant level by timely vaccinations of domestic animals and bitten human beings.
Rural vs. Urban
As far as Florida is concerned, there have been no concrete evidence found whether rabies is more common in rural or urban settings. This is because within Florida, the main source of acquiring rabies is raccoons. The fact that raccoons can live anywhere and can eat anything enables them to exist in abundance regardless of the fact that whether the area is rural or urban. This means that both rural and urban areas are equally likely to be prone to rabies. However, past researches have shown that rabies is more widespread in areas that are more densely populated as compared to those that are less densely populated.
Rabies World Wide
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rabies is most common in Asia and Africa. In the western world, the disease is nearly eradicated among domestic animals by efficient vaccination and animal control legislations; however certain wildlife species may still carry the dis ease. Rabid around the world is generally found in carnivore mammals and can be transmitted from one mammal to another through biting or scratching. Around the world, the animals that are highly known to be carrying rabies viruses include bats, raccoons, foxes, skunks and stray cats and dogs. Among these raccoons are known to be most popular as far as carrying rabies is concerned. Among domestic animals dogs are the most commonly rabid animals.
Countries such as Australia and New Zealand, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland, Iceland, Belgium, Cyprus, Faeroe Islands, Czech Republic and Denmark are considered to be rabies free. On natural grounds, these countries are less likely to get rabies because of their geographical isolation. To make it further secure, the respective governments of these countries have taken strict measures regarding domestic pets, translocation of animals and other animal control measures. This enables them to enjoy a rabies free status. On the other hand geographical such as Bangladesh, French speaking Africa, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Philippines, China, India, Peru, Mexico and Rural Alaska. The main reasons due to high rate of rabies prevalence in these countries are mainly economical. According to the World Health Organization, the cost of post-exposure prophylaxis immunization in these countries range between U.S.$40 to U.S.$49. On the other hand, the average daily income per person in these countries ranges between U.S.$1 to U.S.$2. Moreover, the medical facilities available in these countries are substandard and many people do not have access to health facilities. Due to low literacy rates, most people in these countries are not even aware of rabies threats. To top that, another dilemma is that the respective governments of these countries do not allocate sufficient budgets and do not take effective measures in order to control the disease. Again, the problem that these governments face is lack of necessary technological and financial support that is essential in order to minimize risks of rabies threat. It must be noted that no exact official record of rabies cases is available for these countries as the governments of these countries do not maintain a record unlike United Kingdom and United States of America.
Rabies has an old history and while there have been an extensive research carried out in many developed countries so that the disease can be combated; there are still many parts of the world where little could have been done to fight the disease. According to scientist and medical researchers,…