UN agencies stress dog vaccinations, public awareness to eliminate rabies

New York, US (PANA) – The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) have called for the elimination of rabies, stressing that mass dog vaccinations and public awareness were the key to breaking the cycle of transmission.

The PANA correspondent in New York, reported that the two UN agencies and their partner, OIE, issued a joint statement on Saturday to mark the World Rabies Day, which is annually observed on 28 September.

They noted that many of the estimated 60,000 people who die from rabies every year are children who are bitten by rabies-infected dogs.

The statement stressed that community participation, education and public awareness were important elements of successful rabies control programmes, and that mass vaccination of dogs was critical.

"Communities need to take responsibility for their dogs, prevent dog bites and know what to do when bitten. Rabies is preventable!," they stated.

The statement said: "More than 100 countries report cases of rabies in dogs, putting people at risk".

"Vaccinating at least 70 per cent 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," it said.

The agencies also said that safe and affordable dog rabies vaccines were available, and countries embarking on rabies elimination needed easy access to quality-assured dog vaccines for vaccination campaigns and for outbreak management.

They also pointed out that 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.

"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," they added.
-0- PANA AA 28Sept2013

28 september 2013 19:25:54

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