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Rabies is still present in Europe in 2005. Its incidence in humans remains limited (fewer than 5 human cases per year) through the application of strict prophylactic measures (anti-rabies treatment) and by means of veterinary rabies control measures in the domesticated and wild animal populations. The main indigenous animal reservoirs are: the dog in eastern European countries and on the borders with the Middle East; the fox in central and eastern Europe; the racoon dog in northeastern Europe; and the insectivorous bat throughout the entire territory. Finally, each year, cases of animals with rabies imported from enzootic areas are reported, showing the permeability of borders and traveller’s lack of consideration of the rabies risk. These importations constantly threaten the rabies-free status of terrestrial animals in western European countries and complicate the therapeutic decisions taken by physicians in the absence of information regarding the biting animal.


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