Even though rabies is almost uniformly fatal, it is readily preventable with currently available tools. Vaccination is highly efficacious for the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) of rabies in humans and animals, and prompt postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) with vaccine and rabies immune globulin (RIG) can reliably prevent disease in humans. However, access to these tools and knowledge of their proper use are often limited, especially in impoverished, rabies-enzootic countries with the highest disease burden. In the absence of reliable diagnostic capacity and risk assessments, vaccines and RIG are often administered inappropriately, leading to chronic supply shortages and otherwise preventable deaths. Rather than focusing solely on human prophylaxis, it is more cost-effective over the long term to eliminate canine rabies in its natural terrestrial reservoirs. Because more than 99% of human rabies deaths result from dog bites, prevention efforts should focus on dogs. A versatile "One Health" strategy for canine rabies elimination should aim to create sustainable herd immunity in dogs, using proven vaccination strategies at the local level, coupled with community education and humane population management. Such strategies have succeeded in both developed and developing countries, and can be adapted to any locality. Numerous examples in Africa, Asia, and Latin America have shown that community-based, locally guided vaccination and education programs, based on a shared vision and long-term commitment, can eliminate canine rabies. Such programs should have specific goals and measurable outcomes, and should be conducted under the guidance of supportive governments, in collaboration with international partners and nongovernmental organizations. In addition to currently available tools, rabies prevention can be augmented by new dose-sparing human vaccine schedules, alternative routes of vaccine administration, monoclonal antibodies as an alternative to RIG, sensitive and specific point-of-care diagnostics and the development of canine immunocontraceptive methods. Accurate risk assessments of potential human exposures and support for decentralized laboratory capacity will be essential to ensure the most effective utilization of vaccines and RIG until canine rabies has been eliminated. © 2013 Published by Elsevier B.V.
Franka, R., Smith, T. G., Dyer, J. L., Wu, X., Niezgoda, M., & Rupprecht, C. E. (2013). Current and future tools for global canine rabies elimination. Antiviral Research. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.antiviral.2013.07.004