n Historia - Mad Dogs and Meerkats : A History of Resurgent Rabies in Southern Africa, Karen Brown : book review

Volume 57, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



Academics working on any aspect of veterinary medicine in southern Africa frequently lament the paucity of relevant literature. Covering the whole of southern Africa, Karen Brown's account of the epidemiology of rabies, a first of its kind, will certainly lessen this burden. There is much to recommend in this book. Brown circumvents a number of methodological challenges to come up with a very interesting and informative account, which is useful for a number of fields including anthropology, history, veterinary medicine and public health. Taking a chronological approach, this book, which commences in 1800, deals with five main themes in seven well-written chapters. These include: human-animal relationships and the impact of rabies on developments in science and on public health policies; the cultural impact of rabies on how South Africans have viewed wildlife; the socio-economic impact of colonialism on the distribution of rabies; the evolution of Western knowledge about rabies; the role of the state in rabies control; and how rabies brought social anxieties into the limelight.

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