WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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PERSPECTIVE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 113-116

Sri Lanka takes action towards a target of zero rabies death by 2020


1 Public Health Veterinary Services, Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Colombo, Sri Lanka
2 Rabies Treatment Unit, National Hospital, Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Colombo, Sri Lanka
3 World Health Organization Country Office, Colombo, Sri Lanka
4 World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia, New Delhi, India
5 Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

Correspondence Address:
Bernadette Abela-Ridder
Department of the Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, World Health Organization, Avenue Appia 20, CH-1211 Geneva 27
Switzerland
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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.206247

PMID: 28607238

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Rabies is a 100% vaccine-preventable and 100% fatal zoonotic, viral disease. It is usually spread to humans by saliva, through bites or scratches. Dogs are the source of the vast majority of human deaths from rabies. Political will and leadership have been the main drivers for success of the Sri Lankan effort to reduce the burden of disease attributable to rabies. Post-exposure prophylaxis, which is available in government health facilities, at no cost, to all bite patients, has been a main axis of the rabies-elimination strategy. To attain the last mile in rabies elimination in Sri Lanka by 2020, more will need to be done to scale up dog vaccination, enforce responsible dog ownership, strengthen surveillance for animals and humans and conduct mass awareness programmes. Sri Lanka is the first country in the World Health Organization South-East Asia Region to develop a national strategy for elimination of dog-mediated rabies and is a key country in sharing knowledge, expertise and capacity-building in the region, towards a global target of zero rabies deaths by 2030.


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