The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has added its voice to experts around the world who are linking up to celebrate World Rabies Day on 28 September. The organization, which represents 180,000 veterinarians globally through 94 member associations, is calling for a co-ordinated global initiative to eliminate rabies. Efforts to control the disease, which kills a child every hour in countries such as India and causes countless animal deaths, is estimated to cost $70 billion annually.
The WSAVA’s One Health Committee has rabies as its key focus and is already active, having launched a wristband campaign last year to raise awareness of the disease and funds to help fight it. Through its charitable foundation, the WSAVA Foundation, it is also supporting Mission Rabies, a WVS-led project to eliminate the disease in some regions of India.
On 5 and 6 November 2013, it is holding a major symposium in Paris in conjunction with the World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE). During the event, experts will explore strategies to control and eradicate the disease, discussing successful case studies and aiming to stimulate new approaches to prevention and treatment.
WSAVA President Professor Jolle Kirpensteijn comments: “While many products are available to prevent and treat it and much good work is already being done, for instance, by the Mission Rabies team, there is as yet no effective program to co-ordinate them in a concerted bid to eliminate this dreadful disease. This must change for major steps forward to be taken.
The WSAVA’s One Health Committee is working closely with other global stakeholders and our Symposium in November will mark a major milestone as we come together to pool our resources and expertise.
World Rabies Day is a day on which we can reflect on the progress which has undoubtedly been made – but also remind ourselves of the importance and urgency of the major task which still lies ahead. If human and veterinary physicians work together within the One Health movement, I firmly believe that rabies could be the next infectious disease to be eliminated from our planet.”
For further information on the WSAVA/OIE Symposium visit www.wsavaonehealth.com.
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) is an umbrella organization representing 180,000 veterinarians globally through 94 member associations.