Home History Ten Things to Remember Molecular Biology 2007/2008 Findings Vaccine Profile Other Online Resources Links to Student Pages Pathogen Cards References


History of Rhabdoviridae


Rabies is one of the oldest known infectious diseases in human history, with references dating back to around 23rd century BC where the pre-Mosaic Eshnunna Code of Mesopotamia stated:

"If a dog is mad and the authorities have brought the fact to the knowledge of its owner; if he does not keep it in, and it bites a man and causes his death, then the owner shall pay two-thirds of a mina of silver.7"

Other important dates in the history of rabies include:

1804 - Georg Gottfried Zinke proved that rabies was transmitted in saliva by injecting animals with saliva from a rabid dog12.

1885 - Louis Pasteur develops the first attenuated rabies vaccine using rabbit spinal cords. Also in this year, Joseph Meister, a nine year old boy who had been infected with rabies after being viciously attacked by a dog, became the first person to receive rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (Pasteur's vaccine). He survived7.

1889 - Victor Babes introduced simultaneous administration of serum with rabies antibodies and vaccine as a method of post exposure prophylaxis7.

1903 - Aldechi Negri creates the first clear description of the interaction between neurons and rabies virus after discovering the cytoplasmic inclusions (termed Negri bodies) in neurons in rapid animals12.

1954 - The World Health Organization found that combined used of serum containing rabies antibodies was a more effective post-exposure prophylaxis than vaccine alone7.

2004 - Jeanna Giese became the only reported person in history to survive rabies infection following the onset of rabies symptoms without pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis. She was bitten by a rabid bat while at church, and spent nearly 11 weeks in the hospital after becoming symptomatic. In the hospital, she was treated with antiviral drugs and even put into an induced coma for seven days, and has since only partially recovered.

2007 - The United States is declared canine rabies free by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention11.

Vesicular Stomatitis Virus

1916 - VSV first reported in the United States in cattle and horses7.

1965 - The last reported outbreak of VSV-I serotype7.

1970 - David Baltimore and coworkers discover the first RNA dependent RNA polymerase, a discovery which ultimately earned Baltimore the Nobel Prize10.

Link to Timeline