An engrossing and lively history of the fearsome and mythologized
virusIn the tradition of TheEmperor of All Maladiesand TheGreat Influenza ,journalist Bill Wasik and veterinarian Monica Murphy chart the history, science, and cultural mythology of rabies. In the absence of vaccination—as was true for thousands of years, until the late nineteenth century—therabies virus caused brain infections with a nearly 100 percent fatality rate, both in animals and humans, and the suffering it inflicted became the stuff of legend. The transmission of the virus—oftenfrom rabid dog to man—reawakeneda primal fear of wild animals, and the illness’s violent symptoms spoke directly to mankind’s fear of the beast within. The cultural response was to create fictional embodiments of those anxieties—ravenouswolfmen, bloodsucking vampires, and armies of mindless zombies. From the myth of Actaeon to Saint Hubert, from the laboratories of the heroic and pioneering Louis Pasteur to a journalistic investigation into the madness that has gripped modern Bali, Rabidis a fresh, fascinating, and often wildly entertaining look at one of the world’s most misunderstood viruses.