The Mission Rabies teams vaccinate dogs around Goa. Photo Credit: Mission Rabies

HealthSociety India27. June 2022

Eradicating Rabies? They’re On It!

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.

Gavi (The Vaccine Alliance)

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