Mad Dogs: The New Rabies Plague

Mad Dogs: The New Rabies Plague

by Donald Finley
     
 


Rabies, one of humanity's most ancient and feared diseases, has swept through Texas in one of the most dangerous outbreaks in decades. Normally timid coyotes have become fearless, challenging ranch dogs twice their size, attacking an infant on her porch swing, menacing oil field workers. More ominously, they have infected hundreds of pet dogs, resulting in some…  See more details below

Overview


Rabies, one of humanity's most ancient and feared diseases, has swept through Texas in one of the most dangerous outbreaks in decades. Normally timid coyotes have become fearless, challenging ranch dogs twice their size, attacking an infant on her porch swing, menacing oil field workers. More ominously, they have infected hundreds of pet dogs, resulting in some fifteen hundred people in South Texas exposed to the dreaded disease.

While South Texas copes with the effects of this outbreak, another has infected raccoons from Florida to New York, turning those toylike and benign creatures vicious.

The United States, with the world's most complex rabies problems, seems helpless to resolve them—despite the fact Europe and Canada have mounted successful and ongoing oral rabies vaccination programs. Controversy remains over who will pay for a federally approved vaccine, since the United States considers rabies a local health problem, though the virus knows no state lines or international boundaries.

In 1995, the USDA granted permission to drop an experimental, genetically engineered vaccine over nearly fifteen thousand square miles of South Texas brushlands in an effort to stop the spread of the disease.

In Mad Dogs: The New Rabies Plague, Don Finley chronicles the epidemic, the politics of response to it, and the most ambitious American attempt yet to erect a barrier against the disease—in Texas. He tells the stories of those who have been plagued by rabies, and those who have accepted the charge to end the plague.

Finley's straightforward language, free of either jargon or hysteria, is a welcome approach in describing the disease's destructive effects. His rare inside look into the politics and the science of disease control within public bureaucracies will engross those interested in science and public health issues, pet owners and wildlife enthusiasts, and those fascinated by infectious disease threats.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This account of the latest rabies epidemic in the United States and the battle to halt its spread reads like a fast-paced thriller. Finley, a newspaper medical reporter, describes the canine rabies outbreak that began in Texas in 1988 and the epidemic of raccoon rabies that swept the East Coast from Florida to New York. He also tells the story of the struggle to develop an effective rabies vaccination program in the United States. Such a program has been developed successfully in European nations, but in our country the process has been hampered by politics and side issues. The protagonists in this real-life dramascientists and public health officials who are often at odds with each otheremerge as strong characters. A gripping and informative book.Deborah Emerson, Monroe Community Coll. Lib., Rochester, N.Y.
Booknews
Medical journalist Finley chronicles the canine rabies outbreak which, since 1988, has inflicted considerable human suffering in Texas; and he tells of the politics and side issues which have inhibited institution of an effective rabies vaccination program in the US. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780890968222
Publisher:
Texas A&M University Press
Publication date:
01/28/1998
Series:
Louise Lindsey Merrick Natural Environment Series, #26
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 8.94(h) x 0.08(d)

Meet the Author


Don Finley, medical reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, has covered the rabies outbreak in South Texas from the time it was first recognized. A graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio, he has received numerous awards for medical and science journalism.

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