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Professor Sarah Cleaveland is the pioneer behind eliminating rabies through dog vaccination.
Rabies kills someone every 9 minutes, and many of its victims are children. But Professor Cleaveland has demonstrated that it is possible to entirely eliminate human rabies through dog vaccination.
By creating new epidemiological methods to estimate the number of people infected with rabies, she has shown that there is a 100-fold under-reporting of rabies cases in Africa. Her research showed that canine rabies can be eliminated through vaccination of 70% of domestic dogs and that this is feasible across Asia and Africa, even in wildlife-rich areas.
In this powerful short talk, Professor Cleaveland explains how people’s bonds with their pet dogs can provide a key link for vaccination campaigns, and how her work demonstrates the safety of the vaccine even in very young puppies. By eliminating rabies in the domestic dog population, her work will also be key to protecting endangered wild species from rabies, such as painted dogs (also known as Cape hunting dogs, or African wild dogs).
This pioneering approach to combining human and animal health, known as one health, is opening up new hope for people in comnunities often neglected by medical research to combat fatal zoonotic diseases.
Professor Cleaveland is Professor of Comparative Epidemiology at the University of Glasgow. She gave this presentation ‘Progress towards global rabies elimination: opportunities and challenges for One Health’ as part of the Academy of Medical Sciences New Fellow’s Admissions Day 2019, held on 26 June. On this day, the Academy welcomed 57 Fellows for their formal admission.
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In This Story: Vaccine
A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins, or one of its surface proteins.