Neglected tropical diseases

Kenya launches ambitious rabies elimination strategy

National plan motivated by proof of concept in the United Republic of Tanzania and KwaZulu-Natal aims to make the country rabies-free by 2030

28 September 2014 | Geneva
Kenya, 2010.
40% of people bitten by suspect rabid animals are children under 15 years of age

Kenya is currently endemic for dog-mediated human rabies. An estimated 2000 people die annually of rabies after being bitten by rabid dogs.

Despite this elevated mortality, current efforts to prevent the spread of rabies has mostly been restricted to treating individuals after a dog bite and random dog vaccinations, with little investment in sustainable prevention plans.

“The medical costs associated with treatment after a person has been bitten by a rabid dog is estimated at US$170.00 in Kenya,” says James Macharia, Cabinet Secretary for Health. “This represents considerable financial hardship to a poor household.

Furthermore, lack of facilities in rural areas means that victims have to travel to far-away places for treatment. All these add to the psychological trauma and the terrifying suffering that the disease causes.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that rabies occurs in more than 150 countries and territories. Dogs are the source of the vast majority of human rabies deaths.

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