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CDC Signs North American Rabies Management Plan - Wednesday, October 08, 2008

CDC Signs North American Rabies Management Plan

Published: October 8, 2008

CDC Director, Julie Gerberding, M.d. MPH and Mrs. Cindy Smith, USDA APHIS Administrator, along with Mexican and Canadian authorities signed the first North American Rabies Management Plan.
CDC Director, Julie Gerberding, M.d. MPH and Mrs. Cindy Smith, USDA APHIS Administrator, along with Mexican and Canadian authorities signed the first North American Rabies Management Plan.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) signed the first North American Rabies Management Plan with Canadian and Mexican authorities Friday, October 3rd at the XIX International Conference on Rabies in the Americas in Atlanta, Georgia. The plan is a collaborative effort involving representatives from each country in the fields of agriculture, public health, and wildlife management, and aims to strengthen cooperation and communication among the three countries.

"We've made tremendous strides in our efforts to combat rabies, particularly canine rabies. However, people are at risk from this terrible disease because it is still present in other types of wildlife," said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. "We must remain vigilant and this unprecedented agreement will enable us to continue to protect people from rabies."

The North American Rabies Management Plan, which is the culmination of more than three years of work by CDC, APHIS' wildlife services program, and the governments of Canada and Mexico, establishes a framework and forum for constructive interaction among the countries to build long-term wildlife rabies management goals. The plan calls for annual meetings between the three countries to share information about oral rabies vaccine research, wildlife management, population control and surveillance techniques.

Collaboration between the three countries already is successful in controlling rabies in wildlife. Representatives from the United States and Canada in the fields of health, agriculture and wildlife management work together each year to provide expert information and guidance to develop complimentary rabies management plans to ensure the virus' containment in wildlife. In recent years, US and Mexican officials have also worked to successfully eliminate canine rabies in coyotes in south Texas. This resulted in the 2007 announcement that canine rabies (the strain which circulates from dog-to-dog globally) had been eliminated in the United States (

"This plan is a crucial step to controlling rabies not only in the United States, but throughout North America," said Cindy Smith, APHIS administrator, who's agency took the lead in drafting and conceptualizing the document. "It solidifies our strong relationships with Canada and Mexico, as well as our federal and state partners, in addressing this potentially deadly virus in wildlife populations through information sharing and strategic planning."

Because human cases of rabies in North America are often the result of exposure to wildlife with the virus, each country works to eliminate the virus in its wildlife populations. In the United States, oral rabies vaccination programs aim to prevent the spread of rabies in gray fox, coyotes and raccoons.

In the United States, rabies results in the death of one to three people each year, yet approximately 45,000 individuals in the US get rabies post-exposure prophylaxis after potential exposure. Despite being preventable, over 55,000 people die rabies each year around the world—a rate of approximately one person every ten minutes. Most of these cases occur in Asia and Africa. Children are often at greatest risk from rabies as they are more likely to be bitten by dogs and in high-risk locations like the head or face.

A recent report in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report describes the importation of a rabid puppy from Iraq. Even though dog-to-dog transmission of rabies has been eliminated in the United States, rabies virus variants can still be imported by unvaccinated dogs from countries where it is common in animals, specifically Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Latin America.

"The elimination of dog-to-dog transmission of rabies does not mean that people in the US can stop vaccinating their pets against rabies," warns Dr. Charles Rupprecht, Chief of CDC's Rabies Program. "Rabies is ever-present in wildlife and can be transmitted to dogs or other pets, or imported to the US through movement of animals. Prevention is key."

For more information on rabies and its prevention:

“One Health Newsletter” Fall Issue now published - Tuesday, September 30, 2008

“One Health” article submissions are welcomed and being accepted now.

Anyone wishing to submit an article is encouraged to do so keeping the length to approximately 400 to 1000 words. If a piece has four references or less, they will appear in the main body of the newsletter directly following the article. If more references are required, a link will be placed at the end of the article and the references will appear on a separate page. Pictures that relate to the article you submit are desirable and, if possible, may be used as illustrations in the newsletter.

Copy Submission Deadlines:

  • Winter Issue, December 12, 2008
  • Spring Issue, March 13, 2009
  • Summer Issue, June 12, 2009.

Please submit to Mary Echols, DVM, MPH, Editor, and Send to Dr. Echols at both e-mail addresses to ensure receipt.

New One Health Website launched - Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"May there never develop in me the notion that my education is complete but give me the strength and leisure and zeal continually to enlarge my knowledge."
- Maimonides -

The pro bono “One Health” team of Laura H. Kahn, MD, MPH, MPP, Bruce Kaplan, DVM, and Thomas P. Monath, MD announces that an autonomous free access ‘One Health’ website is now available online at .   This has been under consideration for many months.  Over the past months, inquiries about such a venture have been received from individuals in the U.S. and other countries.  The most common comment heard has been “a One Health website is not only important but a must…as soon as possible!”

The developers envision this website as a method of providing worldwide ‘One Health’ Initiative information for the general public, political and governmental leaders, news media and all ‘One Health’ professionals, advocates and supporters.  As the ‘One Health’ movement evolves via the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) ’One Health’ task force Steering committee/National One Health Commission, it is hoped that this website will eventually be transitioned/merged under their auspices.
The ‘One Health Newsletter’ and its links will be prominently featured on the site as a major ‘One Health’ international educational publication.  In addition, there will be links to the AVMA ‘One Health’ task force recommendations published in the Journal of the AVMA (JAVMA) and other pertinent ‘One Health’ publications. 

Drs. Kahn and Monath serve as contributors to the Newsletter and Dr. Kaplan serves on the editorial board.  All three have been closely allied with the Newsletter since its inception.  It should be noted that Dr. Monath served as a member of the AVMA ‘One Health’ task force.

World Rabies Day Events held September 28, 2008 - Sunday, September 28, 2008

World Rabies Day—September 28, 2008
-The Spirit of One Health In Action-

The One Health Kahn-Kaplan-Monath team encouraged participation.

"The mission of World Rabies Day is to raise awareness about the impact of human and animal rabies, how easy it is to prevent it, and how to eliminate the main global sources. ……. The tools and technology for human rabies prevention and dog rabies elimination are available. Through the World Rabies Day initiative, partners will be………Working Together to Make Rabies History!"

Information provided by: Cathleen Hanlon, VMD, PhD, Dipl ACVPM Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine Professor, Rabies Laboratory Director Global Alliance for Rabies Control

The CDC has launched a program to train veterinarians - Monday, September 01, 2008

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