Mission Rabies continues to vaccinate, educate
Reaching high-risk communities with rabies elimination programs
Since 2013, Mission Rabies has vaccinated dogs across rabies hotspots in India, where more than 35% of all human rabies deaths occur. Based on the program’s success in India, Mission Rabies expanded its programs to other parts of Asia and Africa and now has ten international project sites.
“Mission Rabies is dedicated to working toward a world free from canine-transmitted rabies,” said Luke Gamble, BVSc, DVM&S, FRCVS, founder, Mission Rabies. “It’s crucial that we increase awareness about the devastating impact of this deadly disease, and thanks to the support of MSD Animal Health, in the last 12 months there have been zero human rabies deaths in two of our flagship project sites and we are now striving to continue eliminating rabies from other global hotspots.”
In addition to vaccinating dogs in high-risk areas, Mission Rabies travels to schools in rabies endemic communities to educate children about rabies and its prevention. Children, who often come into contact with stray dogs and don’t understand the deadliness of rabies, are most affected by the disease. Using a fast-paced team of veterinarians and volunteers, Mission Rabies has vaccinated over 1,042,000 dogs and educated more than 3 million people about the risk of rabies.
Empowering self-sustaining rabies elimination programs in Africa
Each year an estimated 59,000 people die from rabies, with over 99% of cases contracted from a dog bite. To reach the goal of eliminating human death from canine-induced rabies by 2030, Rabies Free Africa is dedicated to increasing access to vaccines in countries such as Kenya and Tanzania. To accomplish this, the organization is working to empower countries to create self-sustaining programs to eliminate human rabies deaths and set up surveillance systems to identify and contain future outbreaks.
“Canine-mediated human rabies has the highest fatality rate of any known infectious disease,” said Felix Lankaster, DVM, PhD., Rabies Free Africa, Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, Washington State University
The effective control of rabies through dog vaccination in the communities targeted by Rabies Free Africa in the Mara Region of northern Tanzania has had benefits for wildlife, including endangered African wild dogs, which have become re-established in the Serengeti National Park for the first time since the population disappeared as a result of rabies outbreaks in the early 1990s.
Photo Credit: © Jaron011