FAO, OIE and WHO unite for World Rabies Day to call for elimination of disease

FAO, OIE and WHO unite for World Rabies Day to call for elimination of disease

27/09/2013

Mass dog vaccinations and public awareness key to breaking cycle of transmission

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have issued the following joint statement on the occasion of World Rabies Day.

UNITED AGAINST RABIES

On World Rabies Day – 28 September – FAO, OIE and WHO unite in their goal to eliminate human rabies and control the disease in animals.

Every year, an estimated 60 000 people die an agonizing death from rabies, many of whom are children bitten by rabies-infected dogs.

Rabies is preventable!

Awareness and education

Community participation, education and public awareness are important elements of successful rabies control programmes, and mass vaccination of dogs is critical. Communities need to take responsibility for their dogs, prevent dog bites and know what to do when bitten.

Break the cycle

More than 100 countries report cases of rabies in dogs putting people at risk. Vaccinating at least 70% of dogs breaks the cycle of transmission in dogs and to humans. Rabies programmes need to incorporate free-roaming and street dogs with options for dog population management.

Safe, efficacious and affordable dog rabies vaccine are available, and countries embarking on rabies elimination need easy access to quality-assured dog vaccines for vaccination campaigns and for outbreak management. Vaccine banks can help facilitate procurement and deliveries.

When a person is bitten

A person who is bitten by a rabid animal still has the chance to survive if the wound is cleaned immediately and thoroughly with plenty of water and soap and post-exposure prophylaxis is provided in time (a course of vaccines and, in severe cases, immunoglobulins).

Preventive rabies vaccination can be given to people at high risk of exposure from domestic or wild animals, such as animal health workers, veterinarians or laboratory personnel, to protect them before they are exposed.