What are the characteristics of a fox rabies epizootic?

The viruses circulating in European and North American fox populations are distinct, though closely related. While the epizootic was expanding, it had the following characteristics:
-  The first rabies cases recorded in newly affected areas were almost always in foxes.

-  The epizootic front advanced in a wavelike fashion at a speed of approximately 25 to 60 km per year in Europe, and over much longer distances in North America.

-  The case density in newly affected areas was usually very high (up to 5/km2/year).

-  In areas with good surveillance foxes constituted between 60 % and 85 % of all diagnosed rabies cases in the initial outbreaks.

-  Natural barriers such as larger rivers, lakes, and high mountain chains could act as obstacles to the movement of rabies.


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Version 1 - Last updated November 2012