Keyword Tag Sort by


Categories: Dogs Dog bites Rabies deaths Animals Rabies Infectious Diseases

Rabies deaths from dog bites could be eliminated: McMaster researcher

Someone in the developing world - particularly in rural Africa - dies from a rabid dog bite every 10 minutes.

 

But global elimination of this horrific disease appears to be possible, according to a team which includes scientists from McMaster University, Britain and the United States.

 

In a paper in the current issue of PLoS Biology, they report their analysis of data on rabies transmission in two districts of rural Tanzania (Serengeti and Ngorongoro) and suggest that with "sustained, international commitment, global elimination of rabies from domestic dog populations, the most dangerous vector to humans, is a realistic goal."

 

Jonathan Dushoff, an assistant professor of biology at McMaster University and a member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, analyzed the data. "The paper provides important evidence that the elimination of canine rabies may be possible."

Jonathan Dushoff, an assistant professor of biology at McMaster University and a member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research. Photo courtesy of FHS.
Jonathan Dushoff, an assistant professor of biology at McMaster University and a member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research. Photo courtesy of FHS.

 

Rabies is an acute viral encephalitis that is spread through the saliva of infected animals. Human rabies deaths from domestic dogs are rare in North America, but the disease causes over 24,000 deaths a year in Africa, mostly in poor rural communities and, most often, in children. Globally, 55,000 people die annually from canine rabies.

 

During a rabies outbreak in northern Tanzania, the team of scientists was able to directly trace case-to-case transmission of rabies. From this data, they generated a detailed analysis of rabies transmission biology and found evidence for surprisingly low levels of transmission.

 

The scientists also analysed outbreak data from around the world and found the transmission of canine rabies has been inherently low throughout its global historic range, explaining the success of control efforts in developed countries.

 

"Achieving vaccination coverage of 60 per cent or more in dog populations in Africa is both logistically and economically feasible through annual vaccination campaigns," the scientists said in the PLoS paper.

 

Given the success of the current research, Dushoff said a larger study is planned. "If the (larger study) works, we hope that the World Health Organization and the Gates Foundation will decide to tackle rabies world-wide. Canine rabies may well be a disease we can get rid of."

 

The cost of rabies both in terms of the 55,000 deaths a year and post exposure vaccination treatments is very significant, Dushoff said. "If it really is a disease that can be eliminated, our group believes we should go and get it. This paper is one step along the route of trying to figure out whether canine rabies is controllable, how it can best be controlled and promoting the idea it's a disease we can eliminate."

Links:

Contact: Jane Christmas, Public Relations Manager, Media Relations, ext. 27988, chrisja@mcmaster.ca

Source: McMaster University

Related News:

WHO heralds “new phase” in the fight against neglected tropical... 16 January 2013, 05:21
Sustained commitment key to reaching eradication and elimination targets by 2020.16 January 2013...

A*STAR Scientists Discover ‘Switch’ To Boost Anti-Viral... 11 May 2012, 02:32
Singapore scientists from Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI) under the Agency of Science,...

Breakthroughs In Chikugunya Research Led by A*STAR Scientists Spell... 14 March 2012, 05:07
  Recent breakthroughs in Chikungunya research spearheaded by scientists at A*STAR’s...

Scientists find mechanism that leads to drug resistance in bacteria... 10 October 2011, 12:58
Researchers have identified a novel mechanism whereby the organism Burkholderia pseudomallei...

Diabetes drug improves survival from life-threatening infectious... 23 February 2011, 08:07
Scientists have identified a diabetes drug which halves the mortality rate of a deadly...

Collect Genetic Data on Pathogens 18 February 2011, 18:39
Drs. Daniel Janies, Peter J. Embi, and Philip R. O. Payne, Biomedical Informatics faculty at The...

Researchers Find Gene Responsible for Neurodegenerative Disease in... 23 August 2010, 14:33
A North Carolina State University researcher has helped to locate and identify a gene...

UGA researchers find Plavix may offer safe alternative as... 14 July 2010, 13:05
Athens, Ga. – Companion animals that have a long-term need for anticoagulant drug therapies...

Landmark CVBD prevention field study demonstrates benefits of... 6 July 2010, 02:55
Monheim, Germany, July 6, 2010 – The findings of a landmark Canine Vector Borne Disease (CVBD)...

Nature Enforces Nerve Speed Limit: Study 30 June 2010, 04:19
According to new Simon Fraser University research, there’s a speed limit on the information...