WHO convenes milestone conference to target global elimination of human rabies transmitted by dogs
07 December 2015 | Geneva –– Rabies kills tens of thousands of people each year despite the availability of tools and strategic knowledge to eliminate human rabies transmitted by dogs. On 10 and 11 December 2015 more than 300 participants, including experts, donors, and veterinary and public health officials will meet at WHO’s headquarters in Geneva to agree a framework for achieving global elimination of human rabies. “Global elimination of dog-mediated human rabies – the time is now!” is being jointly organized by WHO and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), 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). | Learn more
Regularly vaccinate all dogs against rabies in endemic areas
As 99% of rabies deaths are caused by dog-bites, countries should tackle rabies at source by vaccinating all dogs in at-risk areas. Vaccination is the most cost–effective way to interrupt transmission because dog rabies cases decline as levels of dog vaccination increase. Vaccinating 70% of dogs in zones where rabies occurs can reduce the number of human cases to zero. | Read Rationale for investing in the global elimination of dog-mediated human rabies
Prevent human deaths with post-bite vaccination
Providing affordable human rabies vaccines and immunoglobulins and improving the supply of safe vaccines is vital to achieving zero rabies deaths.
While safe vaccines exist, the need remains unmet. The successful NTD model for medicines can be adapted to rabies elimination by delivering vaccines and rabies immunoglobulins to where they are needed most. Better planning and forecasting are needed in countries, with private sector support, to improve access and affordability through increased procurement. | Learn more
Raise public awareness on prevention measures
Harnessing support for community awareness and engagement is key to eliminating rabies in dogs and humans. People must understand the dangers of rabies and be informed on how to avoid being bitten and the need to seek immediate treatment after a dog bite.
Given their playful nature, children interact more frequently with dogs. Teach your child how to relate with dogs to prevent them from getting bitten. | Read Want a friend? Be a friend! and Friends don't bite
Proven strategies and case examples
A 5-year pilot project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and coordinated by the WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases has provided proof of principle that elimination of human rabies is feasible through control of the disease in dogs.
Three project sites in the Philippines (Visayas archipelago), South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal province) and the United Republic of Tanzania (south-eastern area) have demonstrated that successful elimination of rabies requires: robust community awareness and engagement; data to determine strategies; national and international support; strong local ownership and political will; and willingness to start small. | Learn more
150Human rabies is present in 150 countries and territories and on all continents, except for AntarcticaWHO Expert Consultation on Rabies (TRS 982)
100%Rabies is 100% preventable by vaccination, yet continues to killRabies: 100 per cent fatal, 100 per cent preventable
60–80%cost savings associated with use of intradermal vs intramuscular vaccines for prophylaxisWHO recommendations for post-exposure prophylaxis