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Global epidemiology of canine rabies: past, present, and future prospects

Authors Taylor L, Nel L

Received 8 July 2015

Accepted for publication 4 September 2015

Published 5 November 2015 Volume 2015:6 Pages 361—371

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/VMRR.S51147

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Antonio Ortega-Pacheco

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Professor Young Lyoo


Louise H Taylor,1 Louis H Nel1,2

1Global Alliance for Rabies Control, Manhattan, KS, USA; 2Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract: The rabies virus, a public health scourge from ancient times, is currently responsible for an estimated 59,000 human deaths a year, almost all transmitted via dog bites. It causes considerable economic impacts on developing countries, primarily in Africa and Asia, which can least afford these losses. However, despite its almost 100% case fatality rate, canine rabies is a completely preventable disease, and historic examples of canine rabies elimination in the developed world attest to this. Over the last decade, programs based on eliminating the source of the disease from dogs have shown success in reducing the public health burden of canine rabies in developing countries, notably across Latin America, and this has contributed to the growing evidence base necessary to change attitudes toward the feasibility of global canine rabies elimination. More recently, assessments of the current economic burden of canine rabies and the potential cost savings achievable through mass dog vaccinations have been added to this evidence base. Tools and support are available from the international community to help countries move progressively toward canine rabies elimination, and there is optimism that global freedom from canine rabies can be achieved within the next few decades.

Keywords: canine rabies, epidemiology, elimination, zoonosis, rabies virus

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