Even though the last case of rabies in Britain was in 1922, the island nation’s public was still terrified of the disease until rather recently. In Tom Scott’s latest video, he explains why there was once such paranoia, and why Great Britain is now virtually rabies-free — a perk that only a few countries on Earth can boast.
From Tom Scott:
FACT: The requirement for muzzling dogs extended to tiny, tame lapdogs, but not to “sporting” dogs, those used for hunting — because the men writing the laws didn’t want to muzzle their own dogs. (Their dogs were upper class, manly dogs, how could they be rabid?)
FACT: The first ever human vaccine was created for rabies, by Louis Pasteur — the medical genius who gave his name to pasteurisation, among many other things. If you’re at risk these days, you can get vaccinated: but it’s not given as standard in the UK, because, hey, we don’t have rabies — and it’s a better idea to vaccinate the animals that might carry it.
FACT: Before the EU pet travel scheme came into force in 2000, any animal coming into the UK had to be quarantined — completely separated from its owners and other animals — for three months to be sure it wasn’t rabid. Not many people took their pets overseas.
Source: Tom Scott