Rabies in Europe

Rabies does exist in Europe, but controls on how and where pets can be transported tends to keep the number of cases in pet animals low in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, not so much. The European Centre for Disease and Prevention Control listed 12 human cases in Europe and seven human infections in EU countries from 2006 to 2011.

Eastern Europe is a major concern for rabies. Romania has more than 700 cases of confirmed animal rabies a year since quarantine laws were related in January 2012.

Last fall, two rabid puppies from Bulgaria were found in Holland, putting additional pressure on the EU’s rules regarding pets and rabies control. The two puppies were part of a litter and were microchipped per EU rules. They had proper paperwork, which apparently stated the pups were vaccinated.

This is a major worry for Western Europe. Great Britain officials are particularly alarmed because of the pet smuggling trade onto the island nation. EU rules also mean puppies coming into the UK don’t have to be blood tested and be quarantined for six months following a vaccination.

The EU Pet Passport has led to a dramatic rise in the number of pets moving across boundary lines within the EU. As the case from Bulgaria seems to indicate, not all these passports can be trusted.

Caroline Allen, a veterinarian and spokesman for the Green Party, said she has seen faked Pet Passports for animals coming from Eastern Europe.

The World Health Organization tracks rabies across the globe. While the information on the map, http://www.who.int/rabies/Absence_Presence_Rabies_07_large.jpg , is a few years old, it is quite indicative of rabies and the problem it represents. The map shows Western Europe does have rabies in wild animals, but domestic and human infections are rare. Eastern Europe has a major problem with it.

Efforts to vaccinate wild animal populations have cut down on cases of wild animals with rabies, but it continues to be a problem.