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Germany tightens rabies strategy

After the disease threatened to spread into France, reference lab takes corrective action

Ned Stafford(scientistnews@yahoo.com)

Germany's federal rabies control agency has instituted "corrective actions" in its vaccination strategy after France's top rabies control official earlier this year sharply criticized Germany for an increase in wildlife rabies that had threatened to spill over into France.

Thomas Müller, head of Germany's National Reference Laboratory for Rabies, based at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute's Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, told The Scientist this week that he believes recent and planned vaccination efforts might result in the eradication of rabies in Germany.

The country experienced a surge in rabies cases in the last quarter of last year and first quarter of this year, causing concern and consternation in neighboring France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland, each of which had succeeded in eradicating wildlife rabies in recent years.

In the last quarter of 2004, there were 23 cases of rabies (16 foxes, 3 roe deer, 4 bats) reported in Germany,...

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