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Education key to fight against rabies, study suggests
The vast majority of rabies deaths are caused by bites from infected dogs.
Lessons about the disease could significantly reduce deaths 

Classroom-based lessons on rabies are essential in the fight against the disease, according to new research.

The study, published in PloS Neglected Tropical Diseases, investigated the impact of a rabies lesson on children in Malawi in conjunction with a rabies vaccination campaign. Researchers found that the children who received the rabies lesson had greater knowledge of the disease than those who had only been exposed to the vaccination campaign.

The study was led by scientists from the University of Edinburgh in partnership with Mission Rabies, an international NGO working to establish effective rabies control activities in Malawi.

“Our study demonstrates that one short lesson, which has now been delivered to over 900,000 children in Malawi, can significantly improve knowledge on how to safely interact with dogs and how children can protect themselves from acquiring rabies infections,” commented Prof Richard Mellanby, head of companion animal sciences at Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

“We hope that this lesson, alongside our mass vaccination programme and disease surveillance activities will significantly reduce the number of deaths from rabies in humans and dogs. The partnership between the Mission Rabies charity and the University of Edinburgh is a powerful demonstration of the benefits of academics and NGOs working together to address important public health challenges.”

In the study, researchers observed the delivery of a single rabies lesson to school children across Zomba City, the fourth largest city in Malawi. No previous rabies lessons or vaccinations had taken place in the city before the study.

The lesson was delivered by trained rabies officers to the school children in Chichewa, Malawi's national language. It included information about improving rabies prevention by immediately washing bite wounds.

Researchers found that knowledge of canine rabies prevention was greater amongst school children that had received the lesson compared to those that did not. Knowledge of the disease among the children remained high for several weeks after the lesson.

In Africa and Asia, the vast majority of rabies deaths are caused by bites from infected dogs. The disease is thought to kill around 59,000 people worldwide each year.

Children are at greater risk of contracting rabies - some 40 per cent of all human rabies death occur in children under the age of 15. Malawi is one of the most affected countries and has one of the world’s highest incidences of recorded child rabies deaths.  

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Amur leopard cubs caught on camera

News Story 1
 A pair of Amur leopards have been captured on camera for the first time since their birth. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland announced the birth in July, but with human presence being kept to a minimum, it was not known how many cubs had been born.

Motion sensitive cameras have now revealed that two cubs emerged from the den - at least one of which may be released into the wild in Russia within the next two or three years. The Amur leopard habitat is not open to the public, to help ensure the cubs retain their wild instincts and behaviour. Image © RZSS 

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News Shorts
New canine and feline dentistry manual announced

A new canine and feline dentistry and oral surgery manual has been published by the BSAVA. Announcing the news on its website, the BSAVA said this latest edition contains new step-by-step operative techniques, together with full-colour illustrations and photographs.

‘This is a timely publication; veterinary dentistry is a field that continues to grow in importance for the general veterinary practitioner,’ the BSAVA said. ‘The manual has been fully revised and updated to include the most relevant, evidence-based techniques.’

The BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Dentistry and Oral Surgery, 4th edition is available to purchase from www.bsava.com/shop