Rabies, the deadly virus which is almost always transmitted due to the bite of rabid dog can be eliminated soon. Experts in the field of community medicine are constructing a new plan to curb the source of the virus.
Some of the most prominent international researchers led by Washington State University’s Paul G. Allen School for Global Health have unveiled a cost-effective method according to which the dogs which are mainly the source of virus should be vaccinated.
The deadly rabies virus causes hydrophobia in humans. The victims suffering from hydrophobia develops extreme fear for water which leads to difficulty in swallowing of water. Some patients can’t even stand the sight of water. The disease is claiming nearly a 100,000 lives every year. Most of the victims are from African and Asian countries.
Rabies is very rare in the United States and other developed countries because of the routine vaccination of dogs.
The study published in the Journal Science reveals that some pilot programs undertaken by the researchers in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia has show great results. Mass dog vaccination can be the perfect method to eliminate the disease the researchers mentioned.
Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health’s director Guy Palmer said, “There is now convincing evidence that vaccination of dogs would eliminate greater than 98 percent of the rabies health burden globally.”
He also added, “Rabies is an ancient plague. Descriptions of human suffering and death can be seen since the earliest times of recorded history. Even today, rabies is the most consistently fatal infectious disease of humans,”
The director of Serengeti Health Initiative Felix Lankester advised the primary focus should be the rabies endemic areas. He said that mass dog vaccination should be started first in the endemic areas. The Serengeti Health Initiative team has conducted mass dog vaccination (over 1000 dogs within one day) in the rural areas of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.
According to Lankester, this effort may cost billions of dollars. Thus the government, international health agencies may need to work together to gather the funds to make sure that the plan will be executed properly.
He said, “We know how and we have the ammunition to do it.”I am optimistic that it can be done. Whether the necessary political will and funding will be harnessed is another matter.”