Together We Can Eliminate Rabies by Guy Palmer
The most deadly zoonotic disease on our planet is one we rarely hear about people dying from in the United States. Each year more than 59,000 people die from rabies worldwide and about half of those deaths are children under the age of 16. The WSU Rabies Vaccination Program is working with veterinary clinics and global partners to reduce that number to zero by 2030.
Rabies is easily preventable with regular dog vaccinations. But today, in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia where the death rates are the highest, there is no reliable system to get vaccinations to where they are needed most. In rural Africa, the cost is too much for many families or there is no electricity needed to store the vaccines. When I am in Africa working with our vaccination team, I see firsthand how important vaccination is to dog owners. Although they may not be able to pay in cash for the vaccine, they will walk many miles just to be able have their dog vaccinated.
Together with our global partners* the Allen School is already making a difference. Each day we vaccinate an average of 300 dogs. Each year we visit 180 villages in seven districts adjacent to the Serengeti National Park. The result is that the vaccination zone – a cordon sanitaire – is now rabies free. Our goal is to use this rabies-free vaccination zone as a model in other parts of sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia.
But to achieve that goal and expand our reach outside of Kenya and Tanzania, we need your help. We are partnering with veterinary clinics around the country because together we can do more than we could do alone. We have set a goal to raise $10 million to develop a reliable vaccine bank and improved distribution.
Together we can make a difference. Your $10 gift will vaccinate a child's dog. A gift of any amount will move us closer to a world where no child dies from canine rabies.
*We work with partners around the world including the Global Alliance for Rabies Control as an umbrella organization, the World Health Organization, the World Organisation for Animal Health, and the Food and Agriculture Organization. Our research in Tanzania is in cooperation with the Serengeti Health Initiative and the University of Glasgow.