The role played by wildlife in the epizootiology of rabies in South Africa and South-West Africa

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The role played by wildlife in the perpetuation of rabies is discussed in the light of information obtained during a routine examination of specimens at the Veterinary Research Institute, Onderstepoort, during the 10-year period, 1967-1976. In the course of the investigation, 9 additional hosts of rabies were confirmed and 4 rabies areas identified. The chief disseminators in 2 of these areas were found to be the dog (Canis familiaris) and the black-backed jackal (C. mesomelas); in the third area, the yellow mongoose (Cynictis penicillata), and in the fourth Genetta and Felis spp., including the domestic cat (Felis catis). It was noted that the domestic cat is of less importance in those areas where dogs and jackals are the chief disseminators.