Mad Dogs and Meerkats

A History of Resurgent Rabies in Southern Africa

Karen Brown

 

Synopsis

In Mad Dogs and Meerkats: A History of Resurgent Rabies in Southern Africa, Karen Brown links the increase of rabies to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Her study shows that the most afflicted regions of South Africa have seen a dangerous rise in feral dog populations as people lack the education, means, or will to care for their pets or take them to inoculation centers. Most victims are poor black children. Ineffective disease control, which in part depends on management policies in neighboring states and the diminished medical and veterinary infrastructures in Zimbabwe, has exacerbated the problem.

Review

[Brown] has done a brilliant piece of detective work to trace the erratic progress of the disease through the region in the twentieth century. She integrates an innovative history of science and medicine with a complex understanding of the ecology of disease. All of this is told in an engaging narrative which captures the cultural and political significance of rabies in societies riven by divisions of class and race. - William Beinart

Author

Karen Brown is currently an ESRC Research Fellow at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, University of Oxford.