Thanks to mass dog vaccination, human education campaigns, and more extensive surveillance, India’s Goa state has become the first of its nation to eradicate rabies — what’s more, in a cost-effective way!
A rabies-control program has been running since 2013 in the state of Goa, with a recent report concluding that canine rabies cases decreased by 92% within the period of the study.
“[This is] an important milestone on the path to a rabies free India,” says Dr. Marvin Lopes, a co-author of the paper and Deputy Director of the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services in Goa.
Rabies, a progressive viral infection that kills tens of thousands of people each year, primarily due to its almost 100% mortality rate, is a hard disease to eliminate particularly in countries like India where there are large populations of free-roaming and hard-to-track dogs. But the Goa success story is a beacon of hope for India – and the world at large – and the example set by Goa is expected to be scaled up and replicated throughout the country.