What is rabies virus?
Despite the existence of effective vaccines for both dogs and people, and its successful eradication from many developed countries, canine rabies remains a significant and much feared zoonotic disease problem in developing countries.
The disease is transmitted via bites (saliva) from affected animals but the epidemiology is complicated by the fact that the disease has a long and variable pre-clinical phase. Once clinical signs are apparent, the disease is almost universally fatal in both dogs and people.
The key factor in controlling canine rabies is vaccinating dog populations and restricting the numbers of roaming dogs, but both of these are difficult to achieve in resource-poor settings.
Our research and its impact
Our research on canine rabies is in two broad streams. The first is focused on epidemiology, field sampling, population surveying and modelling of dog populations, and vaccination strategies in endemic areas (in particular India and Nigeria).
The second examines the cross reactivity of virus and vaccine strains and diagnostics in laboratory focused work. Collaborating groups include the University of Surrey, the APHA Weybridge and the Pasteur Institute Paris.