New book, “Rabies in the Streets,” published by Deborah Nadal (August 2020)

Deborah Nadal (Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher at the Center for One Health Research in the School of Public Health at the University of Washington) published a book titled “Rabies in the Streets: Interspecies Camaraderie in Urban India,” which explores the relationship between people, street animals, and rabies in India.

Book Description: Found in two-thirds of the world, rabies is a devastating infectious disease with a 99.9 percent case-fatality rate and no cure once clinical signs appear. Rabies in the Streets tells the compelling story of the relationship between people, street animals, and rabies in India, where one-third of human rabies deaths occur. Deborah Nadal makes the case that only a One Health approach of “interspecies camaraderie” can save people and animals from the horrors of rabies and almost certain death.

Grounded in multispecies ethnography, this book leads the reader through the streets and slums of Delhi and Jaipur, where people and animals, such as dogs, cows, and macaques, interact intimately and sometimes violently. Nadal explores the intricate web of factors that bring humans and animals into contact with one another within these urban spaces and create favorable pathways for the transmission of the rabies virus across species. This book shows how rabies is endemic in India for reasons that are as much social, cultural, and political as they are biological, ranging from inadequate sanitation to religious customs, from vaccine shortages to reliance on traditional medicine.

The continuous emergence (and reemergence) of infectious diseases despite technical medical progress is a growing concern of our times and clearly questions the way we think of animal and environmental health. This original account of rabies challenges conventional approaches of separation and extermination, arguing instead that a One Health approach is our best chance at fostering mutual survival in a world increasingly overpopulated by humans, animals, and deadly pathogens.

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