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To the Editor:—
With reference to the article on human rabies by Erickson and others in The Journal, June 26, 1954, page 823, I desire to raise the question of the role of rats in the causation of human rabies. I have described (Deshmukh, P. L.: Clinical Hydrophobia Without Contact with Rabies-Transmitting Animals, Indian M. Gaz.84:546, 1949) two fatal cases of human rabies in which contact with rabies-transmitting animals could be definitely excluded. Postmortemstudies were not permitted, hence we had to depend on clinical diagnosis, which appeared to be very convincing. I made two suggestions to explain the human infection: (1) a possible direct transmission by rats, which are fairly common in an Indian household, and (2) an indirect transmission by food or water infected by rabid dogs or rats. It has been sufficiently proved that rats are susceptible to rabies and theoretically constitute a possible reservoir and
Deshmukh PL. HUMAN RABIES. JAMA. 1954;156(14):1351. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02950140051022