Rabies is a viral disease of the central nervous system transmitable from infected animals to humans. Rabies in domestic carnivores had been widespread in our country since before the First World War. Each year hundreds of cases were found mainly in dogs, cats and other domestic animals.
The rabies situation has significantly changed after the Second World War. Rabies in wildlife has been established in our country in the 1950s, with the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) being the principal vector and reservoir. Rabies has become endemic in the border areas of West and North Bohemia and North Moravia. In the long-term average the foxes accounted for about 90% of positive cases. Much lower incidence was detected in domestic animals during the course of the years.
The highest incidence of rabies was recorded in 1984 reaching 2,232 reported cases. Since that time continual decline is visible especially since 1992 when the positive effects of oral vaccination became evident.
Status of Rabies
In the period 1989 to 2004, 144,500 animals were examined for rabies. The majority were foxes (more than 60%) followed by cats and dogs accounting for 30% together.
6,180 cases of rabies were diagnosed during this period. The highest incidence of rabies was recorded in 1989 reaching 1,501 cases. Since that time the yearly incidence has been decliming incrimentally.
In the year 2001, 35 cases were reported, and only 3 cases of fox rabies in 2002. Those were the last known cases of rabies in the Czech Republic. Due to absence of rabies for over 2 years, the Czech Republic qualifies as a rabies free country. This fact has been published by OIE in “Disease Information” No 30,23 July 2004. In 2004, no rabies case was recorded in the Czech Republic. The country remained rabies free.
For terrestrial vertebrates with rabies not occur in the Czech Republic and from recent findings in 2002, has no positive case until now.
Human Rabies in the Czech Republic
Human rabies occur very rarely in our country. Only three cases were diagnosed during last 40 years.
Number of human rabies cases
|Year||Number of human deaths||Source of exposure|
|1973||1 man||Dog in India|
|1989||1 man||Unknown in Vietnam|
Preventive vaccination of domestic carnivors and if necessary, domestic herbivores is the principal method for protecting domestic animals. Inactivated tissue-culture vaccines aree exclusively used for this purpose.
Oralvaccination of foxes
The project of oral immunization of foxes against rabies in the Czech Republic was launched in 1989 in Klatovy, Domažlice and Tachov regions. Vaccination campaigns take place twice a year in the springand in the autumn.
Over time the treated territory was extended to 44 districts in 1992. In the autumn of 1993, entire country was vaccinated with theexception of districts that had alreadybeen free of rabies.
25 millions vaccine baits were used during the period 1989 – 2004. The vaccination program was exceptionally effective and resulted in the total elimination of rabies inthe Czech Republic in 2002.
Rabies examinations are carried out in three authorized laboratories.
Reference Laboratory: National Reference Laboratory for Rabies
Head: MVDr. Ivan Nágl
State Veterinary Institute
165 03 Praha 6 – Lysolaje
Tel: +420 251 031 111
Fax: +420 220 920 655