STOR is pleased to announce its first Training Course on Rabies, in collaboration with the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, the REMESA Secretariat (at the FAO/WOAH office in Tunis), and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The event will take place in Padua, at the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, the FAO Reference Center for this disease, from September 26th to September 28th, 2023, in celebration of the 17th World Rabies Day.

This day is coordinated by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) and is observed annually on September 28th, the anniversary of Louis Pasteur’s death. This year’s theme is “Rabies: All for 1, One Health for all”, highlighting the need for all countries to collaborate and strengthen global healthcare systems in an effort to reduce the impact of rabies on both human and animal health.

Rabies is one of the oldest diseases known to humanity, yet it remains a daily threat to millions of people worldwide, particularly in Africa and Asia, where dogs serve as the primary reservoir, and a high percentage of these dogs are either semi-owned or stray and unvaccinated. It is estimated that rabies claims a life every 9 minutes, approximately 59,000 people each year, disproportionately affecting the less educated and economically disadvantaged population who lack access to or do not seek post-exposure prophylaxis. However, despite being invariably fatal once symptoms appear, infection can be prevented 100% through timely intervention.

The Training Course will feature the participation of one scientist representing each of the REMESA member states. It is important to emphasize that participants from North Africa and the Middle East will be funded by STOR, demonstrating the organization’s commitment to promoting international collaboration.

The theoretical-practical training course, titled “Towards Rabies Control: Epidemiology, Diagnosis, Vaccination”, will span three intense days of learning and knowledge exchange. Two of these days will involve hands-on activities conducted within the laboratories of the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie and the sanitary kennel of the Azienda Unità Locale Socio Sanitaria 6 Euganea. The third day will be entirely theoretical, featuring presentations by leading experts in this field as guest speakers. The entire day will be livestreamed on the Zoom digital platform, allowing remote participation for other researchers as well.

STOR’s Training Course represents a significant step forward in promoting animal health and international collaboration in the Mediterranean region. It provides a unique opportunity for scientists and experts to share knowledge and develop skills to address common challenges in the fight against rabies.

Rabies is a neurological disease that affects all mammals and caused by rabies virus, a neurotropic virus. It is worldwide distributed disease, with exception of some countries (listed by WOAH). The virus is transmitted between mammals and spread via saliva of infected animal upon biting another. To less extent, mammals can be infected by contact of infectious saliva or neurological tissues with mucous membranes or wounds in skin. Once clinical signs develop, there is no effective treatment and infected mammal usually dies.

Rabies is maintained in two epidemiological cycles, urban and sylvatic cycles. In urban cycle, dogs are the main reservoir, where there is high number of unvaccinated semi-owned or stray dogs. This is the predominant in Africa, Asia, Central and South America.. On the other side, sylvatic (or wildlife) cycle is the predominant in Europe and North America.

In light of the WOAH initiative “ZERO BY 30; The Global Strategic Plan to end human deaths from dog- mediated rabies by 2030”, domesticated animals (especially dogs, cats and ferrets) should be vaccinated; Stray animals should be controlled, particularly dogs which represent reservoirs for a canine variant of the rabies virus; Wild animals should not be handled or fed, and bats should be kept out of houses and public buildings; Finally, wildlife behaving abnormally should particularly be avoided.

This webinar aims to provide an update on news and advances regarding recent diagnostic methods and procedures of prevention and control of rabies. At last, this webinar aims to increase the awareness of participants to fulfil the One Health concept.

To download the program PDF please, click here.

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