Neglected tropical diseases

Global framework to eliminate human rabies transmitted by dogs by 2030


16 March 2016 | Geneva −− Human rabies mediated by dogs kills tens of thousands of people every year worldwide. Freedom from this scourge is a global public good and is feasible with currently available tools.

In December 2015 the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and with the support of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), jointly organized a global conference on rabies attended by nearly 300 participants.

Published today, the report of the conference calls for a multi-pronged, comprehensive approach to ensure: (i) affordable human vaccines and antibodies; (ii) prompt treatment for bite victims; and (iii) mass dog vaccination in at-risk areas all supported through (iv) increased communication, awareness and education. Success will depend on implementation of the five pillars of rabies elimination (STOP-R): socio-cultural, technical, organizational and political approaches.

The socio-cultural approach will encourage the promotion of responsible dog-ownership, and dog population management practices, including dog vaccination. The technical approach will strengthen animal health and public health systems to ensure sustainable, safe, efficacious and accessible dog and human vaccines and immunoglobulins, and promote and implement mass dog vaccination as the most cost-effective intervention to achieve dog-mediated human rabies elimination. A good organizational set up will ensure sufficient supply of quality-assured canine rabies vaccines through vaccine banks. Political commitment will be crucial in promoting the One Health concept and intersectoral coordination through national and regional networks while implementation will necessarily require investments in rabies elimination strategies.

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Ashok Moloo

WHO/HTM/NTD
Telephone: +41 22 791 1637
Mobile phone: +41 79 540 50 86
molooa@who.int