A retrospective study of wildlife rabies in Zimbabwe, between 1992 and 2003
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To assess the epidemiological features of wildlife rabies in Zimbabwe, a retrospective study covering a period of 12 years (1992–2003) was conducted using rabies records of the Central Veterinary Laboratories (CVL), Department of Veterinary Technical Services at Harare. Records of monthly and annual wildlife rabies were perused with regard to total samples submitted to the CVL and corresponding positive cases. Positive cases were analyzed in relation to the animal species involved, seasonal trends, and land-use categories. A total of 2107 samples were submitted and 1 540 (73.1%) were positive. Jackals (Canis mesomelas and C. adustus), with a peak occurrence of rabies between January and March were the major maintenance host, representing approximately 91% of the total rabies cases confirmed. The Canidae family recorded the highest number of cases followed by the Viverridae, Mustelidae, Felidae, Herpestidae and Hyaenidae families in that order. During the present study rabies cases were confirmed in 7 additional wild animals. The majority of the positive cases (83.7%) were recorded in commercial farming areas in the northeast parts of the country.