Rabies

Prevention

The most cost-effective strategy for preventing rabies in people is by eliminating rabies in dogs through vaccination. Vaccination of animals (mostly dogs) has reduced the number of human (and animal) rabies cases in several countries, particularly in Latin America. However, recent increases in human rabies deaths in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America suggest that rabies is re-emerging as a serious public health issue.

Preventing human rabies through control of domestic dog rabies is a realistic goal for large parts of Africa and Asia, and is justified financially by the future savings of discontinuing post-exposure prophylaxis for people.

WHO strategies for human rabies prevention

  • WHO promotes wider access to appropriate post-exposure treatment using modern tissue culture or avian embryo-derived rabies vaccines through use of the multi-site intradermal regimen to reduce the cost of post-exposure treatments possible domestic production of rabies biologicals, which are in critical short supply globally, particularly rabies immunoglobulin continuing education of health and veterinary professionals in rabies prevention and control.
  • WHO's strategy for pre and post exposure vaccination
  • More information on human vaccines

WHO strategies for dog rabies control and eventual elimination

  • WHO promotes organization of sustainable mass dog vaccination campaigns; dog population management through reduction of strays, control of trade and movement of dogs, reduction of populations through spaying and neutering; public health education strategies.
  • Oral vaccination of domestic carnivores: As dog accessibility to vaccination by the parenteral route is one of the major obstacles for dog rabies control in many different parts of the world, WHO stimulated studies on oral vaccination of dogs (OVD) and the development of safer and effective vaccines and baits for OVD.
  • More information on animal vaccines
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