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Rabies vaccination campaign reaches 2 million dogs

Milestone achieved in mass effort to safeguard humans from world’s deadliest disease.

A public health campaign to eliminate rabies, supported by Roslin scientists, has reached a milestone of vaccinating two million dogs around the world against the infectious disease.

The outcome, marked on World Rabies Day, is a result of the charity Mission Rabies’ mass vaccination campaigns that aim to help stop human deaths from rabies by 2030.

Work was been carried out with support from partners around the world including the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the Roslin Institute.

To efficiently deliver canine vaccinations on a large scale, Mission Rabies use a bespoke data collection app, developed with University of Edinburgh expertise, to help with rabies and dog population research, and to ensure campaigns are effective and measurable.

The app is also used by other government bodies and NGOs to record vital data and vaccination figures.

Prevention efforts

Despite being vaccine preventable, rabies still has the highest fatality rate of any infectious disease and once clinical symptoms develop, death is inevitable.

Almost all – 99 per cent – of human rabies cases are contracted as a result of dog bites, and vaccinating dogs is the most effective long-term control strategy to protect communities.

Mission Rabies runs mass canine vaccination campaigns, surveillance, and community education programmes in the world’s worst rabies affected areas. The charity’s response teams, located in its key project sites, also offer 24-hour support for rabies emergencies.

The World Health Organization and United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization have set a target for global dog-mediated human rabies elimination by 2030.

World Rabies Day, 28 September, marks the anniversary of the death of scientific pioneer Louis Pasteur, who administered the first human rabies vaccine in 1885.  

I’m hugely proud to be a part of the Mission Rabies team and we’re all delighted with this landmark achievement. None of it would have been possible without the inspirational winners believing in the cause so a tremendous thanks to all involved and a special mention to Dogs Trust Worldwide, MSD Animal Health, the CDC and the University of Edinburgh for their phenomenal support. There is so much more we need to do, and so we need to really fire up the momentum globally if we’re going to hit the WHO 2030 goal.

Dr Luke GambleFounder and CEO, Mission Rabies:

Collaborative partnerships underscored by technology have enabled the vaccination of 2 million dogs against rabies, and prevented the spread of a disease that is deadly for humans. This is a remarkable achievement and inspires ongoing efforts towards eliminating dog-mediated cases of rabies in people within the next decade.

Dr Stella MazeriRoslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies:

** The Roslin Institute receives strategic investment funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and it is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. **

Related links

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Rabies campaign reaches milestone of success