Progress Towards a Rabies-Free World Hindered by COVID-19

Progress Towards a Rabies-Free World Hindered by COVID-19

Press Release (ePRNews.com) - MANHATTAN, Kan. - Sep 28, 2020 - Dog mediated rabies has been eliminated across large sways of the world, yet the poorest of the poor continue to die following exposures to rabid dogs, primarily on the African and Asian continents. This is due to a combination of limited awareness, patchy dog vaccination coverage, and lack of access to prompt treatment for potential rabies victims.

The theme of this year’s World Rabies Day celebration emphasizes collaboration and vaccination. Dog rabies elimination requires a collaborative approach, encompassing all areas – ranging from human, environmental and animal health to education, legislation, and many others – to effectively tackle the disease. Vaccinated dogs play an important role, not only as barriers protecting against human exposure, but also as guardians of their territory against potentially unvaccinated dogs infected with the virus.

COVID-19

National lockdowns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have limited access to life-saving services provided by community health centers offering access to rabies treatment. Anecdotal evidence has shown that this situation resulted in additional unnecessary human deaths – deaths that should have been completely avoidable. Rabies has one of the highest case fatality ratios of any disease, with death rates greater than 99.99% for those who were not able to receive adequate treatment (including post-exposure vaccination) before clinical symptoms appeared. Furthermore, community-led dog vaccination programs against rabies have been postponed as front-line resources have been reallocated to fighting the pandemic.

However, there has been a slither of positive news with reports of lower dog bites in areas where rabies is endemic, as people have shielded at home. Furthermore, new innovative products developed by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) and its partners to support national governments have allowed for improved rabies surveillance, reporting, and tracking of vaccines and patient treatment. Over the last few years, GARC has worked with more than 47 national governments and partners worldwide to strengthen national plans and surveillance measures.

National Prioritization

Prof Louis Nel, Chief Executive Officer, GARC, “Faced with the unprecedented public health crisis, to achieve the goal of zero human deaths from dog rabies by 2030, national governments in rabies endemic regions must continue to prioritize the disease and strengthen and support the delivery of their national action plans. This must be done alongside improved awareness and education efforts, and coordination between international institutions responsible for global health and agriculture.”

Global Alliance for Rabies Control

GARC is the foremost international non-profit dedicated to saving human and animal lives from rabies. www.rabiesalliance.org  www.endrabiesnow.org

For Media: Please contact: info@rabiesalliance.org 

Asia: Dr Sarah Jayme

Africa, Europe, the Americas:  Dr Terence Scott

Source : Global Alliance for Rabies Control
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CATEGORIES : Veterinary

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