Rabies Nonsense and Quarantine Facility Obsession

The body of crazy thinking emanating from Dr Joel Joseph on the subject of rabies can only be understood by asking the question, "What's in it for Dr Joseph?" For nearly a decade he has pressed to have the second floor of the Wise Owl Animal Hospital - a residence converted to a veterinary office - declared a compliant Commercial Quarantine Facility (CQF). That it transparently fails to meet the basic requirements of a) standalone building, and b) possess a 8' perimeter fence topped with barbed wire doesn't deter him. His actions show his thinking to be, "If I can't have a CQF, then no one can."

In November 2010 he wrote multiple letters (PDF) to the the Centers for Disease Control, Australia, etc, all seeking to have Guam's rabies-free designation revoked.

The Hawaii State Veterinarian - naturally concerned about these allegations - wrote to the Territorial Veterinarian asking for clarification. Dr Poole's response (PDF) can be summed up with

Rabies Craziness at Home

Dr Joel Joseph as recently as 2014 has claimed one reason not to vaccinate for rabies on Guam is that the "vaccine can revert to virulence," that is, cause rabies itself. That was only a unproven conjecture in regard to the modified live virus (MLV) rabies vaccine that was discontinued in the mid 1980s. A killed vaccine has been standard since then. The only explanation for Dr Joseph to make this claim is either ignorance of the basic science of vaccines, or a desire to spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) for political/economic gain.

In September 2009 the Marianas Variety saw fit to publish a scientifically illiterate screed (PDF) from Dr Joseph that claimed vaccinating for rabies actually made Guam more susceptible. Fortunately the MV published an informed refutation (HTML).

In December 2010, a month after he sent his misinformation letter to Guam's rabies-free trading partners, Dr Joel Joseph sent out a mass email to Guam senators and media contacts. In it he said a child was treated for rabies prophylaxis after being "bit" by a possibly rabid dog:

"Recently, the Guam Department of Agriculture - Dr Poole's office - was so worried that they tried to have a child who got bit (actually scratched) by a dog to get rabies prophylaxis treatment. If we were rabies free why would this need to be done?

"[...] The GovGuam Dept of Ag did not even know what to do with the dog. The owner went to [Department of Public Health and Social Services] and elsewhere and got the correct information. Owner, dog, and child are all well."

It's a great story however his letter was a complete fabrication.

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