Stopping Rabies in its Tracks: How Canine Vaccines are Saving Lives in Kenya
by Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute
Rabies is one of the oldest zoonotic diseases (diseases passed from animals to humans) known to mankind. Here in the U.S., most people’s pets are protected from rabies by regular vaccinations from the veterinarian. So when we think about rabies cases in the Americas, we tend to imagine raccoons and foxes, or bats roosting in roofs and hiding in rafters. But rabies can infect virtually all mammals.
In other parts of the world, we should instead be thinking about dogs. Up to 99% of human rabies cases in Asia and Africa are caused by dogs. When a person contracts rabies through the bite of an infected animal, the virus travels along the nerves until it reaches the brain. Once there, it causes inflammation, followed by some of the classic symptoms like foaming at the mouth and aggressive behavior. Because there is no cure for rabies, the disease is often fatal.
Access to canine rabies vaccines and public health campaigns are highly effective in preventing outbreaks in people and other species. However, in less developed regions or rural areas with little access to veterinary services, unvaccinated dogs can pose a significant threat. Rabies carried by dogs kills about 2,000 people in Kenya every year, many from rural areas.
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.
She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with her husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescues.