Rabies - Emergence - Your Guide to Transboundary & Emerging Diseases
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21
Total Reported Outbreaks
14
Total Affected Countries
9
Total Affected Species
Key Facts
Clinical Signs
Treatment and Management
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Rabies is one of the most lethal viruses on earth, with almost 60,000 people dying of this terrible disease every year. Almost half of these deaths are children, mostly in Africa and Asia. However, rabies is preventable and there is a global goal of achieving zero human dog-mediated rabies deaths by 2030.

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Rabies

Asia and Africa are the main regions affected by rabies in dogs, whilst wildlife may be affected in many parts of the world. Find out where the latest reported outbreaks are with this map.

Key Facts
Clinical Signs

Clinical signs in dogs with rabies include aggression/unusual behaviour, excessive salivation, and choking/gagging. In animals and humans the disease is 100% fatal once clinical signs/symptoms occur. As such rabies has one of the highest mortality rates of any disease. This Mission Rabies training video gives a detailed explanation of the clinical signs to watch for. 

Treatment

Prevention is the key to controlling and eliminating rabies, with dog vaccination the main tool. People that are bitten by a dog should take appropriate action to wash and clean the wound and seek medical attention.

Management

The disease is 100% preventable. In recent decades countries across Latin America and the Caribbean have made strides towards rabies elimination, and in November 2019, Mexico proved that human canine-mediated deaths can be eliminated when it became the first country in the world to obtain WHO validation for no human rabies deaths. Mexico achieved this by having a national rabies strategy based on mass dog vaccination, raising public awareness, and post-exposure prophylaxis. The cooperation of human and animal health sectors is important in achieving rabies elimination, and rabies is a good example of how a One Health approach can be very effective.

Stray dog in street
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Focus On… Building a Rabies Free Future for Eritrea
Eritrea is among many countries in Africa that struggle with rabies. Despite good progress to implement mass dog vaccinations rabies is continually diagnosed across all regions of the country. To…
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Knowledge Hub
Podcast Episode 4 - 2022 - The One About World Rabies Day 2022
Guest for World Rabies Day is Dr Deborah Nadal, and we discuss her learnings from her time in India which led to the publication of her book "Rabies in the Streets - Interspecies Camaraderie in Urban India." See a video about her book at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAIloLk_cRQ&feature=emb_imp_woyt or find further details at https://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08595-1.html
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Being Partners Is How We Can Make a World of Difference
If you have listened to our podcast or seen me speak at conferences, you have probably heard me refer to partnerships. But what do I mean when I talk about being partners? The Knowledge Hub on the emergence site reflects some of what I consider partnership.  Here you will find infographics, information bulletins, and radio scripts to be used to alert the public about upcoming vaccination campaigns.  There are webinars, reports from conferences, and podcasts with experts from around the world. Partnership is about sharing knowledge and experience, about listening to others, and valuing their skills and opinions.  If we are to eliminate, or even control, these diseases, then we need to combine both local and global know-how.  Successful vaccination programs require an understanding of local socio-cultural aspects, monitoring and surveillance, herd dynamics, communication, epidemiology, and of vaccines. Photo by Carl salter World Rabies Day is the 28th September.  The focus of this day, and the month running up to it, is to bring rabies into the forefront of people’s minds.  To remind them that the poorest people in the world still have to cope with this devastating disease.  It is one of the WHO’s “neglected diseases”.  And yet eliminating this disease will not only save human and animal lives, it will improve the welfare of people and animals alike.  No one can do this alone, but together we can make the difference that is needed.  We do it by bringing our combined skills forward and being partners.
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Rabies Hero Dr Ankita Pathak - work in pictures
Dr Ankita Pathak, our latest recipient of Rabies Hero Award, has been relentlessly vaccinating stray dogs against rabies in and around Mumbai, India, for the last 10 years. She became a veterinarian following her passion and love for animals and is currently one of the most valued vets in the Mumbai area. Living in a society where rabies is a constant threat, she is known to ensure that every animal that comes within her reach is duly vaccinated against rabies, which she considers her duty in combatting this terrible disease. This video shows her hard work and boundless commitment to the betterment of stray animals. The video was provided by the Rabies Hero Award recipient. MSD Animal Health has no affiliation with amtmindia.org and is not endorsing donation. Ankita said she considers herself very lucky to be able to help the ‘speechless souls’. She feels deeply for animals and has never left any of them without care or treatment. She has received several awards for her good work and her contributions to rabies control in the area have been invaluable. She is always sought after for the care she provides. A tribute from Ankita's nominator: “Throughout history, in every culture around the world, extraordinary women have pushed society to think bigger and move forward. This woman is a glowing example of a boundless soul who has courageously made her passion, a job of love and joy: Dr Ankita V Pathak, popularly known as the "Injectionwali Dr", has been silently vaccinating dogs against rabies for the past 10 years. During this time she administered the vaccine to over 35000 stray dogs and abandoned pets all over Mumbai and beyond. A woman can play many roles but a woman who wears her heart over her sleeve for stray animals is a very rare sight. “ Dr Ankita Pathak vaccinates a dog at the Animal SanctuaryDr Ankita Pathak vaccinates a dog at the Animal SanctuaryDr Ankita Pathak at the Animal Sanctuary Dr Ankita Pathak during the vaccination drive in Mahad in 2021.Dr Ankita Pathak during the vaccination drive in Mahad in 2021.Dr Ankita Pathak during the vaccination drive in Mahad in 2021.Dr Ankita Pathak during the vaccination drive in Mahad in 2021.. Rabies vaccination in Mahad, India. The area had been affected by a flood short before the campaign.Rabies vaccination in Mahad, India. The area had been affected by a flood short before the campaign.Rabies vaccination in Mahad, India. The area had been affected by a flood short before the campaign. To go back to Rabies Heroes click here.
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International Symposium of Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics (ISVEE), Canada 2022
My name is Rachel Herschman and I have been an intern on the International Veterinary Health (IVH) team for three months. I attended the International Symposium of Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics (ISVEE) last month in Halifax, Canada from 7th August to 12th August 2022. The clear themes interwoven throughout the conference were the importance of having a diversity of evidence at hand, international collaboration, and having a One Health philosophy. ‘One Health’ is an approach that calls for interdisciplinary collaboration in recognizing how human health, environmental health, and animal health are interconnected. Understanding this interconnectedness across multiple points of view is thought to be the most optimal way to solve problems in these sectors. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada The Global Burden of Animal Diseases The Global Burden of Animal Diseases (GBADs) was one of the many shining organizations at ISVEE. Their talks focused on neglected zoonotic diseases (NZD), many of which disproportionally affect vulnerable groups in low/middle-income countries. Much of epidemiology depends on the availability and accessibility of large datasets, which often results in bias that can over and underprioritize diseases. One such example is Anthrax, a disease found to be the most prioritized in countries worldwide despite being estimated to have a very low disease burden. Therefore, GBABs is exploring graph databases and better data management frameworks to enable more data sharing and reportability. Animal Health Loss Envelope (AHLE). Animal Health Loss Envelope (AHLE). Mortality does not do a great job of capturing the total amount of damage a disease causes. Biomass and economic values were shown to be valuable denominators for disease burden estimates. Using these variables requires large amounts of data and discussion but can yield insightful measures such as the Animal Health Loss Envelope (AHLE). The AHLE can be broken up and attributed to specific causes using complex methodologies. Using this tool can formalize the relationship between health risks in livestock production. AHLE was used to look at the costs associated with poultry production in the UK and showed that the cost of disease burden is roughly the same as the cost of chicks (chicks being the second highest cost in production inputs next to feed costs). AHLE was used to look at the costs associated with poultry production in the UK and showed that the cost of disease burden is roughly the same as the cost of chicks (chicks being the second highest cost in production inputs next to feed costs). When speaking to Carlotta Di Bari about their poster detailing brucellosis burden, the usage of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) was discussed as it is used by many public institutes to create a thorough comparisons of the health impacts felt in a population. This poster was also cited in a GBABs talk by David Pigott focusing on livestock impacts on human health Foot and Mouth Disease Dr. Polly Compston’s presentation was done with data from questionnaires that covered the impact of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreaks on cattle, market activities, animal husbandry and production systems, and household demographics. The partial budget analysis included the current cost of the disease and inconsistent vaccination, the impact of effective disease control through vaccination, and the revenue forgone (i.e., lost milk yields caused by FMD infection). FMD infection can disrupt a female cattles’ reproductive cycle. Milk fertility is a measure of the milk lost due to these reproductive delays, and the analysis showed a consequence of six months of milk lost due to FMD that did not include the milk losses during the clinical infection The panel discussion and Q&A segment of “Modeling Approaches to Support Progressive Control and Eradication of Transboundary Animal Diseases, with a Focus on PPR and FMD” touched upon the importance of data availability and strategies to discuss modelling to non-scientific officials. Main points: The absence of a rich database for Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), can lead to overlooking uptake issues in vaccination program.Discussions with non-scientific officials must be a participative process where there is ownership and belief in modelling tools.It might even be beneficial to have a dedicated member to present the outcomes of a model, instead of the person who built the model, so that the information can be distilled into simple messaging. Panel discussion on “Modeling Approaches to Support Progressive Control and Eradication of Transboundary Animal Diseases, with focus on PPR and FMD. Avian Influenza China’s yellow boiler industry has been understudied with no prior research on the chickens before going to market, and current Avian Influenza (AI) control policy does not consider the unique ways yellow broilers are reared. A value chain analysis of this sector in Guangxi, China (Tang, et al., 2021) identified the use of trading platforms as a key point for targeted intervention to prevent the spread of H7H9 (Asian Lineage Avian Influenza A) to other birds and people. Contracted broiler farmers, used extensively in this region, send their market-weight chickens to trading platforms before they are transported to live bird markets to be sold to the public. Professor Arjan Stegeman from Utrecht University detailed how wild bird densities and landscape variables can predict spatial patterns in high pathogenicity AI (HPAI) outbreak risk across the Netherlands. The analysis was about HPAI introduction, not about its spread. Mallard ducks were shown to be the migratory bird with the most associated risk, but inland outbreaks were attributed to geese having a greater role. With the most important wild bird species’ populations varying year to year, models therefore need to be updated regularly to remain accurate. Professor Stegeman’s HPAI risk map of the Netherlands that uses three algorithms. Lumpy Skin Disease One of the most anticipated talks of the conference was on the qualitative assessment of the probability of introduction and onward transmission of Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) in Ukraine (Farra, et al., 2022). LSD was detected in Russia in 2015, suspected to have been introduced via the Balkans. Instability in Ukraine this year could make LSD's introduction into the country a real possibility. Qualitative risk assessment analysis showed that the highest risk for LSD introduction was the illegal importation of cattle and that a strong legal framework was associated with the least risk. Local experts included veterinary authorities, field veterinarians, and academics from universities. The report was received well in Ukraine and is being used to revise strategies in place and to better understand the introduction pathways. African Swine Fever To be ready for a case of African Swine Fever (ASF) transmission, many countries are running simulations so that emergency plans and procedures can be more effectiveTo be ready for a case of African Swine Fever (ASF) transmission, many countries are running simulations so that emergency plans and procedures can be more effectiveTo be ready for a case of African Swine Fever (ASF) transmission, many countries are running simulations so that emergency plans and procedures can be more effective I spoke with Dr. Amy Hagerman, an Assistant Professor at Oklahoma State University, about her student’s research on ASF’s impact on the pork prices in the Hispaniola Island. The supply of Creole swine is forecasted not to recover until 2030, leaving the prices for the traditional pig product high and could mean its further displacement by commercial swine that are faster to recover. Rabies In this talk, free roaming domestic dogs (FRDDs, dogs belonging to a community) were identified as the main source of rabies transmission to humans in a study including Indonesia and Guatemala. The study tracked FRDDs to see what habitats they chose to live in. Knowing this could make oral rabies vaccination campaigns more successful. Veterinary Education The quality of a veterinarian’s communication skills impact client satisfaction. By training with this digital role-play, veterinary practitioners were better able to understand how to clarify clients’ needs and build strong working relationships. The Norwegian University of Life Sciences evaluated how having students making podcasts about epidemiological topics could be a way to actively aid their learning. The students worked in groups and took on different roles in the podcast. It was stated that this project creates a motivational learning environment by incorporating curiosity, challenges, choice, control, and collaboration.The Norwegian University of Life Sciences evaluated how having students making podcasts about epidemiological topics could be a way to actively aid their learning. The students worked in groups and took on different roles in the podcast. It was stated that this project creates a motivational learning environment by incorporating curiosity, challenges, choice, control, and collaboration. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of MSD Animal Health.
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Focus On… Building a Rabies Free Future for Eritrea
Eritrea is among many countries in Africa that struggle with rabies. Despite good progress to implement mass dog vaccinations rabies is continually diagnosed across all regions of the country. To help eliminate this devastating disease, the World Organization for Animal Health, WOAH (formerly OIE) provides support in developing control strategies, and I have been fortunate to be one of the experts to assist.
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Times up for rabies! Join the #Rabies360Challenge this September!
Do you want to help save human and animal lives? Join the #Rabies360Challenge this September to raise awareness of rabies elimination. Anyone can engage to help us spread this important message ahead of World Rabies Day (September 28th): Times up for a disease that kills one person every nine minutes. It is 2022, and it is simply unacceptable that almost 60,000 people PER YEAR die from rabies, a disease that is entirely preventable by vaccinating dogs.   The purpose of the challenge is to instill a change that will make a difference in the Global South, where people still face the danger of rabies infection in their everyday lives. ANYONE from ANYWHERE can partake by doing 360 of anything they want and posting about it on social media with our hashtag #Rabies360Challenge. With a social media challenge like this one, your voice will reach across the world. Similar events in the past have amounted to an unimaginable amount of awareness and action. And prove that even the smallest act can help make the greatest impact by inspiring others to do the same. Let your creativity and persistency shine; your presence will drive the change you want to see. It can be as fun and easy as taking 360 nature photographs, 360 stitches in a knitting project, or 360 minutes of a hobby you’ve always wanted to devote more time to – now is your chance! It is 2022, and it is time to save tens of thousands of lives each year from one of the world’s most lethal but preventable viruses. #Zeroby30 is within our reach.                                      Why not start thinking about a challenge you might like to do.  There are lots of ways to stay informed and get involved: Follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn to see what others have been doing on their challenge. Or search the hashtag #Rabies360Challenge.Join in? We’d love to hear from you, so let us know what you are doing here or simply tag @emergence_MAH in your social media posts!Get inspired by what other participants did last year - read Following #Rabies360Challenge Around the Globe and Celebrating World Rabies Day 2022 with #Rabies360ChallengeVisit the Community Response to Rabies for more information about the disease elimination Spreading the word is easy with our FREE #Rabies360Challenge social media toolkit – available in our Knowledge Hub. Download and use the graphics on your social channels! Every post, every like, every share makes a difference. What will you do? Your challenge. Our fight. Eliminating rabies together. Participation is entirely voluntary and at the participants own risk. MSD Animal health accepts no liability. Your participation may result in your #Rabies360Challenge posts, including photos and videos, being shared through emergence channels (website and social media). Image credits: Carl Salter
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Boosting disease control with learning and innovation
Disease control is about a lot more than simply the right vaccine. Building sustainable programs that will make a difference often requires behavioural change and even cultural shifts.  Alongside that, vaccination is definitely not an excuse for poor management routines.  High-quality vaccines are effective in extremely testing conditions, but no matter how good they are, ultimately human and animal immune systems can be overwhelmed when the challenge is too much. That is why we concentrate on how vaccines are used, and how elimination and eradication programs are implemented, as much as we do on the technologies to continually develop better vaccines. On the emergence website, and in the emergence podcasts, we talk to people about the diseases themselves, how they spread, what actions can be done to reduce the environmental load, and how to improve the interface between humans and animals.  Awareness is critical.  It used to be that vets and doctors could focus on the “local” diseases, but with global travel and shifting weather patterns, vectors are changing their habitats and viruses can be carried tens of thousands of miles before clinical signs are even seen.  It is more critical than ever that we watch for unusual diseases.  When I was trained as a veterinary surgeon at the University of Glasgow we were told “when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras”.  A couple of decades later then you need to think of the zebras.  African Swine Fever, Lyme Disease, and Lumpy Skin Disease are all examples of diseases that are now common in areas that weren’t even considered ten years ago. That awareness is built on education.  Education of medical professionals, but also of technicians, animal owners, and the public.  It’s a privilege to be able to engage with people and share what we have learnt over the years of working in transboundary and emerging diseases.  And also for us to learn from others involved on the ground.  Whether it is talking to students at college, hosting One Health webinars, supporting village community workshops, helping vets in developing countries attend conferences, or through social media, using different mediums helps communicate the message that we can work together to create a healthy, welfare positive, and sustainable future for us all.  This latest emergence edition will bring you some of those tools and help support you as we work together. Here are a few resources and ways to learn about a variety of diseases, that we would like to bring to your attention: Global One Health initiative webinar ‘Surveillance – Where we are now and barriers to implementation’International rabies training course in West Africa organised by the Pasteur InstituteFree Animal Health Expert Trainings from the FAO elearning AcademyOur recent webinar 'A One Health Approach to Vector-Borne Diseases' Expert resources on Lumpy Skin Disease and vaccinationThe 'ASF Talks' webinar series International Veterinary Vaccinology Network
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Partnering towards rabies elimination in West Africa
"Collaboration is one of the main elements needed to achieve rabies elimination," says John Atkinson, Associate Director International Veterinary Health, "and this was highlighted recently as a range of partners came together to organise, support and facilitate an international rabies training course in West Africa. " This 11-day course was organized by the Pasteur Institute in Paris and the Pasteur Institute of Côte d’Ivoire, the National Institute of Public Hygiene in Côte d’Ivoire, the Directorate of Veterinary Services of Côte d’Ivoire, in collaboration with the University of Sciences, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako in Mali, the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Mali, the Swiss Centre for Scientific Research in Côte d’Ivoire and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the Pasteur Network, the Department of Biochemistry of the University of Lausanne, the Health Sciences eTraining Foundation (HSeT), the University of Glasgow, and in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC). The rabies surveillance and control training course took place in April 2022 and was for professionals involved in rabies control in West Africa as part of ongoing efforts to strengthen the disease control capacity in the region. The event was a great success with participants from 8 countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Tchad, Rwanda, Togo) graduating from the course. The training emphasized the need for a multidisciplinary approach and intersectoral cooperation. The trainees engaged in various activities to help acquire new knowledge and skills which will be indispensable for success of the future rabies control programmes in their respective countries. The course was designed to provide theoretical as well as practical training for students and professionals from both human and animal health sectors. The learning objectives included the use of epidemiologic data, promotion of dog vaccination in rabies control, developing strategic plans and raising awareness of rabies within the West African context, in line with the One Health approach. The program comprised online pre-work followed by an 11-day practical session in Côte d'Ivoire with field activities and lab work covering a variety of topics, including surveillance, canine rabies control as well as management of rabies in humans, awareness, community engagement and modeling. Participants learned through a range of activities e.g. virological diagnosis, planning of vaccination campaigns, data analysis, discussions with experts and more. A combination of group work, writing assignments and application in the field was an excellent way to develop the skills related to the program objectives, and help advance the future implementation of integrated rabies control across West Africa. In sponsoring this West Africa training course, MSD Animal Health was proud to continue supporting the training of rabies control professionals, having also sponsored the North Africa Surveillance and Control of Rabies training course in Morocco 2019. Find out more about how networks of rabies champions are being built around the world with this “Focus On…” article by Perrine Parize from Institut Pasteur. Image credits: Institut Pasteur
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