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Mission Rabies reports decline in rabies deaths
luke gamble
Mission Rabies has launched a crowd funding drive to help it educate another 15,000 children. (Image by Steve Burden)
Over half a million street dogs vaccinated so far
 
Mission Rabies founder Luke Gamble says the project is beginning to see the impact of its international programmes, with more than 500,000 street dogs vaccinated since its launch in 2013.

According to the project’s latest annual report, no child rabies deaths were reported in Blantyre, Malawi, last year. Back in 2012, however, it was a different story. The government hospital published an editorial in The Lancet, reporting the highest rate of child rabies deaths from any single institution in the whole of Africa.

Human rabies deaths are likewise declining in Goa, India. There were 17 human deaths in 2014, five in 2015 and just one in 2016. And in Ranchi, India, there were no reports of human or canine rabies deaths last year.

In addition to these three flagship projects, Mission Rabies now has another four project sites - in Zomba, Uganda, Tanzania and Sri Lanka. Thousands of dogs have been vaccinated in each of these areas, achieving coverage of 70-80 per cent of the canine population.

Last year the Mission Rabies truck also sterilised 2,234 animals, delivered 11 courses and trained 70 vets, providing vital training in clinical best practice. And the project recently announced it had educated its one millionth child on how to prevent rabies.

One particular case shows the impact of the education campaign. A man named Rupesh phoned the Mission Rabies hotline when his son Eknath had been bitten by a dog. Rupesh was incredulous that five post-exposure rabies vaccinations and rabies immunoglobulin were necessary, as the dog appeared normal.

The following day, however, Rupesh phoned back as the dog was becoming increasingly aggressive. The dog was collected by the Mission Rabies Response Team and humanely euthanised after showing clear rabies symptoms. The animal later tested positive for rabies.

Rupesh revealed that his son had shown him a Mission Rabies pamphlet and the emergency number, which had prompted his call. The Mission Rabies team had visited Eknath’s school and he remembered being told to wash the bite and visit the doctor for injections.

Now, Mission Rabies has launched a crowd funding drive to help it educate another 15,000 children: crowdfunder.co.uk/life-saving-lessons

The project’s CEO Luke Gamble said: “Teaching children how to avoid dog bites and what to do if they are bitten is a vital part of what we do. It only costs us 70p to rabies educate one child - the same price as a bar of chocolate.”

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Blue Dog Programme wins WSAVA One Health award

News Story 1
 An educational initiative to help children interact safely with dogs has been awarded the WSAVA’s 2017 Global One Health Award.

The Blue Dog Programme offers an array of educational resources for children, parents and school teachers, including an engaging website, fact sheets, DVD and an accompany book for parents.

The award will be accepted by Professor Tiny de Keuster, a European veterinary specialist in behavioural medicine and founder of the programme, during WSAVA World Congress 2017.  

News Shorts
VMD stakeholder workshops to discuss Brexit implications

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has announced that it is to hold stakeholder group workshops to discuss the implications of EU exit.

The workshops will be held during Autumn 2017 and will discuss topics such as the prescribing cascade, pharmacovigilance and inspection of non-UK based manufacturers.

To register your interest, send an email to events@vmd.defra.gsi.gov.uk, including any topics, in order of preference, that you would like to be discussed.