Cases of rabies among wildlife in Germany are increasing and threaten to spread into rabies-free France, triggering accusations that German authorities are not properly administering vaccination programs that have been successful elsewhere.

Some 19 wildlife cases of rabies were reported in Germany during the last quarter of 2004, compared with only eight cases in the previous quarter, according to the most recent figures from the World Health Organization's Rabies Bulletin Europe. Of the 19, 14 were in the central western state of Hesse. Of those, 11 were in foxes, a prime rabies risk in Western Europe.

The rise in wildlife rabies cases in Germany is causing concern in neighboring France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, which have succeeded over the last 4 to 7 years in eradicating wildlife rabies. Germany had also come close to eradicating rabies—between 2001 and late last year, the disease wildlife had been confined to a...

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