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2009-06-18 digital edition

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2009-06-18 / General Stories

A New Strain of Rabies

A strain of rabies virus from northern Arizona is moving faster than all other strains of rabies virus known. It infects foxes and skunks, which are now capable of passively transmitting the virus, which could constitute a public health problem.

Laboratory studies of the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) in Atlanta seemed to confirm that the rabies virus of fox and the skunk had mutated from a strain of rabies from bats. The tests showed that the virus has adapted to skunks who passed the virus to each other not only through bites or scratches, but also by proximity, such as human influenza is transmitted.

Dr. Mark Strain with the Lexington Animal Clinic said, "We mostly have the skunk strain of rabies and certainly encourage all animals to be vaccinated."

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