Sunday, July 22, 2012


I don't cover rabies in this course but if you are interested in diseases generally you may want to check out a new book '“Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus”. Here's part of a review from the New York Times where they point out what a fabulous example of vaccination success rabies is.

(R)abies vaccinations for dogs, which have always seemed to me a bureaucratic annoyance (who gets bit by rabid dogs these days anyway?), have produced one of the historic successes in public health.

Hardly anyone in developed countries gets rabies now because dogs are routinely vaccinated.

In the rest of the world, however, 55,000 people die each year of rabies. 

And a lurid detail about rabies I didn't know.

(R)abies, on its inexorable death crawl through the nervous system to the brain, can cause sustained erections, and on rare occasions frequent, and uncontrollable ejaculations in human males.

The authors write, “case reports from history describe up to thirty ejaculations in a single day” and go on to note that “The Roman physician Galen, in his own remarks on rabies, describes the case of an unfortunate porter who suffered such emissions for three full days leading up to his death.”

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