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Rabies Outbreak


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Duration 1min
Release Date 1976
Sponsor Central Office of Information for Ministry of Agriculture
Text version of this film





The British Isles has been free of rabies for many decades, but the disease still exists elsewhere in the world. In the United Kingdom there are precautions to prevent rabies being reintroduced, for example through illegally imported animals. This is the key message in the 1976 film that attempts to depict an innocent-looking black dog as a dangerous carrier of rabies.

Although the film is amusing, the dangers of rabies are clear since it is an acute viral infection that attacks the central nervous system. Although post-exposure treatment is available, once symptoms develop the condition is invariably fatal. Usually transmitted through saliva via the bite of an infected animal, dogs are the main transmitter of rabies to humans.

In the UK the last human death from indigenous rabies occurred in 1902, and the last case of indigenous animal rabies was in 1922. Most cases of rabies in the UK now occur in quarantined animals, or in people infected abroad. Since 1946 there have been 22 deaths in people infected with rabies abroad.

Today, all rabies-susceptible animals entering the UK are required to spend six months in quarantine, unless they have arrived under and complying with all the conditions of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), otherwise known as the ‘Pet Passport’.

Introduced on 28 February 2000, the PETS system allows pet dogs, cats and ferrets from certain countries to enter the UK without quarantine as long as they meet the rules. PETS also means that people in the UK can take their dogs, cats and ferrets to other European Union countries, and return with them to the UK.


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