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Eradicating Rabies

March 16, 2017

Vaccinating dogs against rabies protects humans and wildlife, too.



Vaccinating a puppy against rabies. (U.S. ARMY VETCAP/CC BY 2.0)


Ending rabies. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Most people in the developed world don’t give rabies a second thought. That’s because dogs are routinely vaccinated so it rarely threatens people. But worldwide, 70,000 people die every year from the disease, around half of them children. In the journal Science, Washington State University infectious disease pathologist Guy Palmer and his colleagues describe a plan to eradicate rabies.

GUY PALMER (Washington State University):

By going in and doing mass dog vaccinations you can reduce the burden from rabies in terms of public health basically to zero.


He says a campaign to vaccinate dogs in Tanzania over a ten year period prevented the disease in people, and even reduced infection of wild animals in nearby Serengeti National Park.


If you control it in the dog population, you actually can keep it completely out of the wildlife population as well.


I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard