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Rabies continues to kill in Africa and Asia

Paris, 9 August 2010 - Numerous fatal human cases of rabies, particularly affecting children, occur every day in Africa and Asia, for example in Indonesia and the Philippines. The increase in human cases is linked to the proliferation of roaming dogs, which include dogs having owners as well as stray dogs.

Control of the stray dog population makes a significant contribution to preventing human rabies cases. The OIE has adopted and published international standards on this matter and recommends their application worldwide (Section 7, 2010 Terrestrial Animal Health Code, http://www.oie.int/eng/normes/mcode/en_titre_1.7.htm).

“However when local conditions allow it, dog vaccination is the most efficient measure. The cost of vaccinating dogs is very much lower than the cost of treating people after they have been bitten,” Dr Bernard Vallat, OIE Director General explains.

Vaccination of stray dog population is very difficult to implement in developing countries. Some researchers estimate that it costs approximately US $100 to catch, sterilize and vaccinate one stray dog and this would apply to thousands of dogs in those countries. Most often, it turns out that international assistance is essential.

Great hope is put on the development of oral vaccines for stray dogs which will avoid the logistic and economic challenges of catching and vaccinating dogs parenterally.

The OIE urges international companies involved in the development of dog rabies vaccines to speed up research for the production of efficient oral vaccines at a reasonable cost.

To address these concerns the OIE is organizing a World Conference in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 7,8 and 9 September 2011: “Global Conference on Rabies Control: Towards Sustainable Prevention at the Source” (http://www.oie.int/downld/ANNOUNCEMENT_MEETING/Rabies/A_Annonce.pdf)

Dr Vallat adds: “even if a small share of the funds that have been dedicated to treating people for bites was invested in management of the rabies situation in wild, stray and pet animals it would have dramatic impact on reducing human cases worldwide.”

Background information

OIE web portal on rabies
http://www.oie.int/?id=576

World rabies day
September 28 2010
http://www.worldrabiesday.org/

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