"Rabies prevention requires a global effort"
In this interview, Professor Louis Nel shares important insights on rabies control that all of us, from health professionals to pet owners, should be aware about. Louis Nel is the Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) and a driving force behind the annual World Rabies Day.
What is the current situation concerning rabies throughout the world?
The latest estimate is that rabies causes at least 59,000 human deaths every year. It is most rampant in Africa and Asia, with Asia having the largest number of cases. About 99% of canine rabies problems come from these two regions.
How can people protect themselves against rabies?
It is crucial that we vaccinate dogs. A vaccinated dog becomes your soldier in the fight against rabies, because it is the blood of a vaccinated dog that stops and kills the virus. Education and awareness about the disease can also make a huge difference. People who are educated and aware about rabies know how to protect themselves, especially in the case of a dog bite.
How have World Rabies Day and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) contributed in the fight against rabies?
World Rabies Day was created by GARC in 2007 and has been very helpful to create more awareness worldwide. Moreover, GARC has successfully brought together many organizations, creating partners in rabies prevention. Rabies prevention requires a global community effort.
What is your wish for the future?
We must work together and understand that rabies control is for the global good. We need to eliminate canine rabies – it is possible and it can be done. The One Health approach, which encourages coordination between animal and human health sectors, is also crucial in the fight to end rabies.