26 September 2016
Vaccinating and neutering dogs will help to end rabies by 2030
To mark World Rabies Day (28 September) the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has announced that it is joining the global End Rabies Now campaign that aims to end the tens of thousands of human deaths each year from canine-mediated rabies by 2030.
Almost all rabies cases are as a result of being bitten by an infected dog, with around half of all dog bites and rabies deaths occurring in children under 15 years of age. Rabies, which is preventable, is categorised as one of the 17 Neglected Tropical Diseases by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The End Rabies Now campaign aims to significantly raise the profile of rabies as a global neglected tropical disease with policy makers and journalists, explaining what is being done to control and eliminate the disease. The campaign is led by Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), and has three key messages:
- It is possible to end human deaths from canine-mediated rabies by 2030
- Every rabies death is an avoidable death
- Vaccinating dogs ends rabies
Ahead of the tenth World Rabies Day, BVA has also recognised vet Professor Sarah Cleaveland OBE for her work in rabies control by awarding her the Chiron Award, one of the Association's most prestigious awards for outstanding contributions to veterinary science.
On receiving the Chiron Award, Sarah said:
"Awards like this are recognition of the contributions not only of one person, but the work of many. We are deeply committed to continuing our efforts towards the global elimination of canine rabies and tackling other zoonotic diseases that affect the health and livelihoods of many of the poorest people in the world.”
The End Rabies Now campaign is based around the strong scientific evidence that vaccinating dogs is fundamental to disrupting the cycle of rabies transmission to humans. The target of 2030 was chosen because one of the UN's sustainable development goals, launched in September 2015, includes the ambition to end by 2030 neglected tropical diseases such as rabies.
With 120 countries still affected by canine rabies, the End Rabies Now campaign advocates that collaborative cross-sector efforts are needed to end zoonotic diseases such as rabies: rabies elimination plans must include human and animal government agencies, veterinary and human health professionals, educators, scientists and community groups.
BVA President Gudrun Ravetz said:
“The work being done worldwide by vets, human health professionals and others to combat this horrific disease that senselessly kills thousands each year is of the utmost importance and BVA is proud to support the End Rabies Now campaign and help get those key messages out to policy makers and governments worldwide – every rabies death is entirely preventable and we can end rabies by 2030 through vaccinating dogs.”