SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

WHO implements global framework for eradicating rabies

The World Health Organization (WHO) for Animal Health, the Global Alliance for the Control of Rabies (GARC), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations have developed a new global framework to eradicate human rabies.

Three important actions included in the framework must be implemented if the plan is to be successful. These include guaranteeing there is prompt treatment for people who are bitten by a rabid animal, making the vaccines and antibodies for rabies more affordable, and conducting mass dog vaccinations that will solve the illness before it spreads.

“Rabies is 100 percent preventable through vaccination and timely immunization after exposure, but access to post-bite treatment is expensive and is not affordable in many Asian and African countries,” WHO Director-General  Dr. Margaret Chan said. “If we follow this more comprehensive approach, we can consign rabies to the history books.”

The success of this framework could save countless lives every year.

“Vaccinating 70 percent of dogs regularly in zones where rabies is present can reduce human cases to zero,” Dr. Bernard Vallat, Director-General of the WHO for Animal Health (OIE), said. “Eliminating canine rabies through dog vaccination is the most cost-effective and only long-term solution. Human deaths can be prevented when mass dog vaccination is combined with responsible pet ownership and stray dog population management, both complying with OIE intergovernmental standards, as well as with bite treatment, as recommended by WHO.”

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