Rabies in terrestrial animals
Rabies, mankind's oldest known zoonotic disease, is caused by single-stranded, negative-sense RNA viruses of the Lyssavirus genus, family Rhabdoviridae of the Mononegavirales order. It is transmitted following the bites of infected mammals. The recognized etiological agents are classified into 16 recognized and 2 putative lyssavirus species, of which the rabies virus species (RABV) represent the prototype member of the genus. The reservoir for terrestrial rabies caused by RABV in its entire complexity is cryptic. Only a few abundant hosts in the orders Carnivora and Chiroptera are able to maintain viral RABV variants, also referred to as primary reservoir hosts, while the great majority of mammals, including humans, though susceptible to rabies, are considered spillover (dead-end) hosts. Distribution of terrestrial rabies encompasses all continents, with the exception of Antarctica and Australia, where it still poses a serious public health problem. Substantial progress in eliminating terrestrial rabies is limited to Western and Central Europe and parts of the Americas.