Rabid for science?

So this Sunday, I’m in bed with a bad cold. Not much to do but drink hot tea and listen to podcasts about viruses! In a recent episode of Skeptically Speaking, Desiree Schell talks with veterinarian Monica Murphy and science writer Bill Wasik about a very old and familiar, but also very uncanny, disease, rabies. It’s Episode 190,
– Rabid
, from the title of their book.

Every topic covered is just fascinating: from the early perception by ancient civilizations of the link between the human disease and the one in dogs, to the PR savvy of Louis Pasteur in using the already rare in his time, but still terrifying rabies to make the case for immunization. Also, the death-defying job of rabies lab research in a time where there was no vaccines and no means to cultivate the virus, except by using infected rats and rabbits that had to be handled with extra care…

And of course, we find interesting insights into human psychology in the course of the program, like the case of pet owners of the 19th Century who didn’t want to believe that their beloved animal could be the vector of a deadly disease! Nothing new under the sun, indeed.

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