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Rabies

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Infectious Diseases of Dromedary Camels
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Abstract

Rabies is a lethal notifiable zoonotic encephalomyelitis and a major challenge to public and animal health that causes thousands of human deaths yearly worldwide. Like all warm-blooded animals, camels are susceptible to rabies. Rabies has been accounted for in dromedary camels in all camel raising countries. Camels are bitten commonly on fore or hind limbs and in head of females when they defend their neonates from predator’s attacks. Reported cases of rabies in camels came from UAE, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Niger, Mauritania, Nigeria, Sudan, India, Kazakhstan, Iran, and China. Transmission of the disease from camels to humans, though unlikely, was reported. Rabies is a viral disease caused by the rabies virus, genus Lyssavirus, family Rhabdoviridae. Rabies virus is usually transmitted to the next host by bites through the saliva of a rabid animal, but also via scratch wounds or contaminated mucous. In most cases, the disease is transmitted by bites from rabid wild dogs, foxes, cats, wolves, jackals, hyenas, or monkeys. The disease in camels is mainly of the silent or dumb type but the furious form has also been noticed. The early clinical signs of the disease include restlessness, ataxia, posterior paresis, salivation, and rotation of head and neck in all directions followed by paralysis, recumbency, and death. Rabies can easily be confused with other diseases or with the normal aggressive behavior of animals. Currently, diagnostic techniques have been standardized internationally that include the direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) test, the direct rapid immunohistochemistry test (dRIT), or pan-lyssavirus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. Once rabies is diagnosed in a farm the veterinary authorities ought to promptly implement the appropriate control measures that include incineration or burial of all infected animal carcasses, emergency vaccination of dogs in the area, and raising of public awareness.

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Khalafalla, A.I. (2021). Rabies. In: Infectious Diseases of Dromedary Camels. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-79389-0_5

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