Global animal medicines association HealthforAnimals has used the fourth annual World Zoonosis Day to call for urgent action to halt the spread of rabies.

World Zoonosis Day this year has focused on rabies.

Up to 75% of all known human diseases are zoonotic and currently more than 200 identified zoonotic diseases represent a clear threat to human health and to the welfare of animals. To mark World Zoonosis Day, HealthforAnimals has focused on rabies as a zoonotic disease that can be eradicated.

HealthforAnimals executive director Carel du Marchie Sarvaas said: “To address the global zoonotic threat, HealthforAnimals promotes the use of preventive veterinary medicines and the widespread use and development of vaccines. These play an increasingly important role in the effective control of a variety of diseases.

“However, there are often barriers to implementing these technologies and the animal health industry must urgently work closely with non-governmental bodies, inter-governmental bodies, governments and regulators around the world to encourage access to medicines, to overcome solvable disease challenges.

“Also important is ensuring an environment that encourages continued innovation in the animal health industry, to ensure we remain on top of the always shifting disease-scape, as pathogens themselves, and the environment in which they exist, continually change. Preventing rabies in dogs is widely regarded as one of the best options for reducing the number of deaths in humans.”

HealthforAnimals supports the work that leading not for profit, industry body and government organisations do to help raise awareness of the issue and also improve disease surveillance and implement control strategies in at-risk areas. Organisations that are involved include the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, World Health Organization, World Organisation for Animal Health, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

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