Professor Michael Day presenting the 2014 WSAVA Global One Health Award to Professor Lucille Blumberg, Deputy Director of the South African Communicable Diseases Institute
Professor Michael Day, Chairman of the One Health Committee of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), has highlighted the progress being made in moving towards the elimination of rabies, while recognising that there is still much to be done. He made his comments following the 39th WSAVA World Congress in Cape Town and as World Rabies Day 2014 (28 September 2014) approaches.
“The global elimination of canine rabies is a key priority for the One Health Committee and, during WSAVA World Congress, we discussed rabies control projects across Africa, as well as strategies for global rabies elimination by the target date of 2030 we have set jointly with International Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Our delegates learned about successful mass vaccination campaigns in Tanzania, Kwa Zulu Natal and Kenya and discussed epidemiological modelling and molecular typing of rabies variants. They were even invited to get involved by returning their conference lanyards so they could be turned into collars for the temporary identification of dogs vaccinated against the disease during the mass vaccination campaigns.
He added: “It was interesting to hear from the recipient of this year’s WSAVA Global One Health Award, Professor Lucille Blumberg, Deputy Director of the South African Institute for Communicable Diseases. She described human cases of rabies, emphasizing the importance of human physicians communicating with local field veterinarians to ensure rapid diagnosis.
“On World Rabies Day it’s encouraging to be able to report real progress in fighting the disease, thanks to the dedication and passion shown by many individuals. If we continue to work together with such focus and commitment, we will make even more progress before the next World Rabies Day.”
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) is an umbrella organization representing 145,000 veterinarians globally through 92 member associations.