Fighting rabies and saving lives

A new framework to eliminate rabies has been launched by the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Global Alliance for the Control of Rabies (GARC).

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The plan calls for three key actions, making human vaccines and antibodies affordable, ensuring people who get bitten receive prompt treatment, and mass dog vaccinations to tackle the disease at its source, according to a statement issued by the OIE.

“Rabies is 100% preventable through vaccination and timely immunisation after exposure, but access to post bite treatment is expensive and is not affordable in many Asian and African countries. If we follow this more comprehensive approach, we can consign rabies to the history books,” said WHO director-general Dr Margaret Chan in the statement.

Tens of thousands of people die from rabies each year and, worldwide, four out of every 10 people bitten by suspected rabid dogs are children aged under 15 years. One person dies every 10 minutes from rabies.

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