About 98 percent of people who die of rabies contract the virus from dogs, and a coalition is working to give countries a plan to eliminate the canine rabies virus variant.
The guide is intended to provide a single comprehensive source for practical, up-to-date rabies elimination information that can be used by individuals, organizations, and government agencies; it was published in June at www.rabiesblueprint.com. The site was developed by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, Partners for Rabies Prevention, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases in Bamako, Mali.
Peter Costa, a spokesman for the Global Alliance for Rabies Control and the World Rabies Day coordinator, said the blueprint was inspired by visits to some countries in Asia and Africa where rabies is endemic and the scarcity of public health officials who know how to control the transmission of the canine rabies virus variant. The site creators found that papers and reports with information on rabies control were scattered in publications and on websites that were not always easy to find.
Members of the Partners for Rabies Prevention thought they could help countries find solutions by assembling a blueprint with step-by-step instructions and a true one-health approach, Costa said. It is intended to provide copies of, or links to, all information needed to start controlling and preventing rabies, including case studies of successful programs, expert contacts, basic material lists, cost estimates, and guidance on administering reduced-dose, postexposure prophylaxis in humans.
Dr. Charles E. Rupprecht, chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's rabies program, said the site was developed as a step beyond the World Rabies Day campaign. The latter helps bring attention to the disease while the former gives developing countries tools to combat the disease. The CDC is a member of the Partners for Rabies Prevention and a contributor to the site.
This year, World Rabies Day is Sept. 28.
The site is currently available in English and French, and Costa said people have requested editions in Bahasa, Chinese, Farsi, German, Hindi, Kiswahili, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. He said it was too early to tell which countries were using the blueprint during its first month.
"We are trying to provide the blueprint in more languages, and we hope we can get a few more online within the next year," Costa said. "We have had requests to conduct workshops on the blueprint from several countries, and we have already successfully completed our first workshop a few weeks ago."
Representatives of Croatia, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine participated in the workshop hosted by Partners for Rabies Prevention and designed to help them bring concepts from the blueprint to their own health ministries.
Partners for Rabies Prevention is working on a chapter on controlling rabies in wildlife, and Costa hopes the chapter will be available within a year.
"We consider the blueprint a living document and, when new recommendations and regulations come into existence, they will be included in the document," Costa said.