Rabies Control in the Community (United States Public Health Service, 1956)

Rabies Control in the Community (United States Public Health Service, 1956)


[Music] [Narrator:] This is human rabies introduced by the
bite of a rabid dog. [Music] These are actual cases, all of the patients were dead within 12 hours after these pictures were taken. Rabies is a virus disease that affects the central nervous system, where it destroys the vital centers. This youngster could not understand what was wrong with her; did not realize that death was inevitable. In dogs, the symptoms are variable but usually in
the early stages, sudden movement or noise [Two loud hand claps] cause exaggerated nervous responses. As the disease progresses, paralysis of the jaw
and throat may occur. At this stage, the dog is unable to swallow, and saliva drools from his mouth. Some hours later, the paralysis becomes more general, causing loss of muscular control. Finally, death occurs due to paralysis of the vital centers. This dog does not drool at all; however, the symptoms of rabies are beginning to show, The virus is in the saliva and the animal is infectious. The dog may show a marked change of personality and may swallow bits of wood, stones, or feathers. Frequently he will bite animate or inanimate
objects. In furious rabies, the dog may run about aimlessly attacking other animals and humans, frequently causing severe outbreaks of the disease. However, the form shown in this film, called dumb rabies, may be equally dangerous because the characteristic symptoms are not evident. Rabies may be transmitted by infected foxes, domestic cats, dogs, and other biting animals, although all warm- blooded animals are susceptible to the disease. Because of the close association between dogs
and humans, the dog is our chief concern in considering the rabies problem. This is any American community, lots of youngsters and lots of dogs. Certainly no one is thinking about rabies, but rabies is here, carried by this forlorn stray dog from who knows where. Already he has bitten the pet dog. This is the beginning of an outbreak of rabies, nothing spectacular, nothing sensational, no snarling, frenzied animal. But the rabies virus has been introduced into the
everyday life of this community. A few weeks later it begins to show itself. The boy’s friendly, playful pet turns mean, bites his master, and several neighborhood children. Within a few weeks, the pet dog dies; autopsy and subsequent laboratory examinations prove beyond a doubt that the cause of death was rabies. There is no choice now but to give each of the bitten children a long series of anti-rabies injections. Most of them will be protected, but some may not. This could have been prevented through a sound
rabies control program. What is wrong with this community? [Woman 1:] I take good care my dog; he hardly
ever goes out of doors. Why, he can’t get rabies. [Man 1:] Rabies? Listen I’ve raised dogs all my life,
I never heard of a case of rabies. [Woman 2:] Well, I don’t think rabies will ever be
much a problem here. [Narrator:] That was the trouble with the
community–apathy and ignorance. But after they did have an outbreak of rabies, the
whole story changed. Now the people ask that something be done. To the local board of health came groups of citizens to discuss a program to eliminate rabies from their community. The board appointed a public health veterinarian
to direct the program. His first move was to get pet owners to have their
animals vaccinated. [Government vehicle with public address system:] [?] Memorial Park, let’s get rid of rabies. Bring your dog to the community-sponsored vaccination clinic today at the Robert Banks Memorial Park. Everybody, bring your pets today, let’s get rid of
rabies. [Narrator:] The response was gratifying. Pedigreed dogs and mongrels, high-bred and low-bred, but each one loved by someone who wanted his dog safe from rabies. Modern rabies vaccines cause little discomfort to the dog but are highly effective, giving a much longer period of immunity than the older types. In preference to the community-sponsored vaccination clinic, many people preferred to have their private veterinarians vaccinate their pets. As the immunization proceeded, another phase of the program was in action, the picking up of stray dogs, a real threat to the community. Well-trained dog wardens were given the responsibility of picking up strays and taking them to the local animal shelter. This was a well-constructed, up-to-date building where humane treatment was emphasized and the dogs kept in clean quarters. Dogs suspected of having rabies were isolated and kept under observation. The removal of strays and the vaccination of pets soon showed definite progress, but there was still one more factor to consider. The woods at the edge of town offered harborage for foxes, which had been very abundant that year. Cooperating with the rabies control program, the state wildlife commission agreed to reduce the number of foxes in this area. Excessive numbers of foxes in a given area form an ideal situation for an explosive outbreak of rabies. Scientific reduction of their numbers is good
conservation practice and good rabies control. So as time went on, this community gained increasing control over its rabies problem. The citizens learned the truth of the statement that public health begins with the people themselves. [Woman 1:] Yes, we learned the hard way. But now we’ve protected our pets from rabies. [Man 1:] Well, I sure was wrong. Having a dog vaccinated against rabies is a man’s obligation to his neighbors. [Woman 2:] Well, I guess we’ve all learned, rabies
can become a problem in any community. [Man 2:] Now we’re rid of rabies and it’ll never get
back. [Narrator:] Well, that’s a pretty strong statement,
rabies can always be re-introduced. For instance, a new family moves to town from a
community where rabies is present. The pet dog has been exposed, but symptoms have not begun to show. Then a few weeks later he becomes irritable and
begins to wander aimlessly. [Sounds of barking] This time the people know what to do. [Music] As later tests proved, the new dog was indeed rabid. In the course of his wanderings, he had bitten two
pet dogs. One of these had been vaccinated only three months before. He was re-vaccinated and confined to his yard for 30 days. If no symptoms showed in that time, he would be
safe. The other bitten dog had not been vaccinated, so he would be held six months for observation. Thus a second outbreak was avoided. And this same three-part control procedure– vaccination of all pets, keeping stray animals off the streets, and controlling wild animals in the outskirts of the community– this same pattern of rabies control will succeed for any community or county or even state, providing it has the whole-hearted backing of a public with a real desire to stamp out rabies. [Music]

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

18 thoughts on “Rabies Control in the Community (United States Public Health Service, 1956)

  1. "This youngster could not realize what was wrong with her… did not realize that death was inevitable."

    Jeez, harsh world. Thank you, science, for addressing this gruesome disease.

  2. Anictdotes are fictious…liz Boykin vs. Beagles pt 2
    Jack Spratt keeps picking up rabid crew's because one of his neighbor's keeps getting beagles and one of his neighbor's shaves blue bloodhounds…this is a dangerous disease!

  3. Watching these dogs makes me violently ill thinking some bastard scientist injected it with rabies. HELL NAW! F THAT S!

  4. Nope, I can’t watch and you know scientists injected dogs with rabies. You just know it. Anyone that did do this no matter what bastardized cause I really hope he/she suffered a horrible death. Very slowly. (Yes, I know, a bastard is a fatherless child but the word just fit with what I said).

  5. We humans sure are weird. Happy, violent, sad, angry, you name it and we either a. Have it or B. Our ancestors had it.

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