Neglected tropical diseases

Global elimination of dog-mediated human rabies

report of the Rabies Global Conference, Geneva, Switzerland, 10–11 December 2015

Authors:
WHO, World Organization for Animal Health

Publication details

Editors: Dr B. Abela Ridder/Neglected zoonotic diseases
Number of pages: iv, 27.p
Publication date: June 2016
WHO reference number:
WHO/HTM/NTD/NZD/2016.02

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Overview

Rabies remains an under-reported neglected zoonosis with a case-fatality rate of almost 100% in humans and animals. Dog-mediated human rabies causes tens of thousands of human deaths annually despite being 100% preventable. More than 95% of human cases are caused by the bite of a rabies-infected dog. Dog-mediated human rabies disproportionately affects rural communities, particularly children, and economically disadvantaged areas of Africa and Asia, where awareness of the disease and access to appropriate post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can be limited or nonexistent. Unlike for many other zoonoses, the appropriate tools to eliminate dog-mediated human rabies already exist. Dog-mediated human rabies can be eliminated at source by vaccinating dogs, in conjunction with dog bite prevention, bite management, raising public awareness and improved access to prompt post-exposure treatment.

It is in this context that the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and supported by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), organized the Global Conference on “Global elimination of dog-mediated human rabies: the time is now,” in Geneva, Switzerland on 10–11 December 2015.

The objectives of the conference were:

  • to disseminate the results of the proof of concept for the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies in different settings, and explore expansion and sustainability into other endemic areas;
  • to build support and the case for investment to progress towards the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies from national, regional, global and other stakeholders including the private sector;
  • to promote a “One Health” intersectoral collaborative approach between the human and animal health and other sectors; and
  • to shape the forward vision agenda with shared purpose in collaboration with donors and stakeholders for the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies.

This report provides an overview of the activities and areas of discussion at the conference, key messages and major outcomes to advance the rabies elimination agenda.