The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) National Rabies Management Program (NRMP) and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) have joined forces to end rabies.
The goal of the NRMP is to prevent the further spread of wildlife rabies and to eventually eliminate terrestrial rabies in the United States. GARC is a nonprofit that aims to increase awareness of the continuing threat of rabies around the world, dedicated to eliminating rabies in both humans and animals.
“NRMP has worked closely over the last several years with GARC,” said Rich Chipman, the rabies management coordinator for the NRMP. “Formalizing this partnership will ensure we can continue to move aggressively to control and eventually eliminate rabies at its source in dog populations and wildlife.”
The partnership was made official by a memorandum of understanding that was signed by the two organizations in July 2016. It will focus on enhancing rabies communication and information sharing; promoting rabies prevention and control to protect human and animal health as well as encouraging enhanced rabies surveillance and monitoring and research to meet the goals of the GARC led collaborative End Rabies Now Campaign, which seeks, by the year 2030, to eliminate human deaths due to dog-transmitted rabies.
Globally and in the U.S. rabies impacts human and animal health and remains a complex management challenge. Despite being 100% preventable, rabies continues to claim an estimated 59,000 human lives annually as well killing a considerable number of wild and domestic animals. Rabies also has significant economic impacts. An estimated 29 million people receive post-bite treatment worldwide every year to prevent rabies after dog bites at a direct cost of over $1.7 billion and total rabies related economic losses are estimated at $8.6 billion a year. Rabies remains a threat due to lack of awareness, poor coordination of rabies control efforts and inadequate surveillance and monitoring of rabies.
A child takes a dog to a free, Global Alliance for Rabies Control anti-rabies and dog vaccination event for the residents of Barangay 18 in Sarrat, Philippines, June 2015. GARC photo courtesy of Ilocos Norte