Rabies elimination research: juxtaposing optimism, pragmatism and realism

Cleaveland, S. and Hampson, K. (2017) Rabies elimination research: juxtaposing optimism, pragmatism and realism. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 284(1869), 20171880. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.1880) (PMID:29263285) (PMCID:PMC5745407)

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Abstract

More than 100 years of research has now been conducted into the prevention, control and elimination of rabies with safe and highly efficacious vaccines developed for use in human and animal populations. Domestic dogs are a major reservoir for rabies, and although considerable advances have been made towards the elimination and control of canine rabies in many parts of the world, the disease continues to kill tens of thousands of people every year in Africa and Asia. Policy efforts are now being directed towards a global target of zero human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030 and the global elimination of canine rabies. Here we demonstrate how research provides a cause for optimism as to the feasibility of these goals through strategies based around mass dog vaccination. We summarize some of the pragmatic insights generated from rabies epidemiology and dog ecology research that can improve the design of dog vaccination strategies in low- and middle-income countries and which should encourage implementation without further delay. We also highlight the need for realism in reaching the feasible, although technically more difficult and longer-term goal of global elimination of canine rabies. Finally, we discuss how research on rabies has broader relevance to the control and elimination of a suite of diseases of current concern to human and animal health, providing an exemplar of the value of a ‘One Health’ approach.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cleaveland, Professor Sarah and Hampson, Dr Katie
Authors: Cleaveland, S., and Hampson, K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN:0962-8452
ISSN (Online):1471-2954
Published Online:20 December 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences 284(1869):20171880
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
539491Understanding the role of contact networks in the epidemiological and evolutionary dynamics of zootonic diseaseSarah CleavelandWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)082715/B/07/ZRI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED
569043Hierarchical epidemiology: the spread and persistence of infectious diseases in complex landscapesKatie HampsonWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)095787/Z/11/ZRI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED