IS Veterinarian Attends Hemisphere Rabies Conference

Dec. 14, 2017 - Rabies continues to affect many nations in the Western Hemisphere, and International Services (IS) staff work closely with other APHIS offices and foreign partners to control and eliminate the disease. From November 28th to 30th, 2017, Luis Lecuona, the IS veterinarian in charge of the Wildlife Program in Mexico, attended the 16th meeting of the Rabies Program Directors in the Americas (REDIPRA) and a conference, “Rabies: Unfinished Challenges – An Unfinished Process.”

Lecuona, along with other U.S. delegates, including Richard Chipman, APHIS Wildlife Services (WS) Rabies Management Coordinator and Dr. Jessie Blanton, from the rabies office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) met with more than 70 other representatives from the ministries of health and agriculture from 21 countries in North, Central, and South America, in Antigua, Guatemala.

Conferees analyzed the current rabies situation in the region; the progress made – and challenges – in controlling and eliminating human rabies transmitted by dogs; the definition of strategies for the care, monitoring and prevention of wild rabies; and the health-agriculture interrelationship for the control of this zoonosis of impact in the public and social health, besides the economy and tourism of the countries of the Region of the Americas. The U.S. delegation presented the status of rabies management activities, U.S. efforts to improve regional collaboration according to the North America Rabies Management Plan with Canada and Mexico, and collaboration agreements for rabies control in mongooses in the Caribbean area and the rabies transmitted by vampire and other bats in the Americas.

Lecuona created the meeting’s photographic file of the meeting, assisted Chipman in communicating with the Spanish speakers during the event, and coordinated logistics for U.S. attendance and mobilization in Guatemala.