Recognizing Heroes in the Fight Against Rabies

Recognizing Heroes in the Fight Against Rabies

In many parts of the world the danger of rabies is still a very real threat. In Asia and Africa the number of deaths reported each year from dog-bite inflicted rabies is in the tens of thousands. Transmitted through the saliva of a rabid animal, rabies is a viral disease that is almost always fatal. And while vaccinations and prophylaxes for humans do exist, they are not readily available or accessible to many people living in these regions.  Dog mediated human rabies is responsible for 99% of all rabies transmissions to humans, and yet it is actually 100% preventable, simply through the vaccination of dogs.

Luckily and thankfully, there are people who are committed to raising awareness of rabies and to eliminating this life-threatening disease altogether.  These people coordinate vaccination campaigns, work with local communities in providing education, and lead research to help us better understand what is needed. Through their efforts, animal and human lives are being saved every day.

The World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the International Organization for Animal Health (OIE) form a tripartite collaborative platform called “United Against Rabies” (UAR).  Their mission is to achieve zero human rabies deaths by the year 2030.

MSD Animal Health has also been committed to this drive and since 2016 has handed out World Rabies Day Awards to individuals who stand out in their efforts to combat rabies.

In early 2020 the International Veterinary Health team (IVH) introduced The Rabies Hero Awards to bring additional recognition and appreciation to the outstanding individuals who dedicate themselves to eradicating rabies. Since the introduction of the award, there have been five recipients, all of whom work in Africa on various campaigns involving vaccinations and education.

We are proud to introduce the Rabies Hero Award winners here:

Sarah Cleaveland (Serengeti)

Felix Lankester (Tanzania)

Kevin Leroux (Kwazulu-Natal Province)

Louis Nel (South Africa)

Dedan Ngatia (Kenya)

Renée van Rheede van Oudtshoorn (South Africa)

Danie Stewart (South Africa)

Congratulations to these distinguished individuals and to the many others who continue to work toward the elimination of rabies in dogs.