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Epidemiological characteristics of rabies in South Korea from 1993 to 2001
  1. J-H. Kim, PhD1,
  2. E-K. Hwang, PhD2,
  3. H-J. Sohn, DVM3,
  4. D-Y. Kim, PhD4,
  5. B-J. So, PhD3 and
  6. Y-H. Jean, PhD3
  1. 1Department of Veterinary Medicine, Cheju National University, Jeju 690-756, Republic of Korea
  2. 2College of Life Science and Natural Resources, Sangji University, Wonju 220-702, Republic of Korea
  3. 3Pathology Division, National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service, Anyang 430-824, Republic of Korea
  4. 4Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-741, Republic of Korea

Abstract

In the nine years from 1993 to 2001, 210 cases of rabies were recorded in domestic animals in South Korea; 115 cattle, 94 dogs and one farmed deer were affected. The annual incidence of rabies cases increased to a peak of 64 in 1998, and then decreased to about 30 cases per year. The cases were confined to the northern part of Kyounggi and Kangwon provinces. One hundred and forty-six cases (69·5 per cent) occurred in Kyounggi and 64 cases (30·5 per cent) in Kangwon province, and about 82 per cent of them were confined to two counties in Kyounggi province (29 per cent in Paju and 28·1 per cent in Younchun) and to Chulwon county in Kangwon province (25·2 per cent). However, over several years the outbreaks gradually moved south and east in both Kyounggi and Kangwon provinces. There were more rabies cases in cattle than in dogs, suggesting that the disease is transmitted by the sylvatic cycle. To investigate the relationship between rabies in domestic animals and wild animals, 107 wild animals, including Korean raccoon dogs, badgers, weasels and feral cats, were tested for rabies; 21 of the 67 Korean raccoon dogs tested (31 per cent) were infected. The cases in domestic animals were most common in winter, from December to February, and least common in summer, from June to September.

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