This Monday is the World Day Against Rabies, one of the zoonoses – diseases that are transmitted from animals to people – most important in terms of public health, since each year it kills more than 60,000 people in the world each year and only 15 cases of survival have been recorded, and those who surpassed it have been severe neurological sequelae.
Veterinarians have wanted to highlight the importance of vaccinating pets as an effective measure to deal with rabies.
As Teresa López, president of the Official College of Veterinarians of Murcia, explains, “all mammals are susceptible to rabies virus infection, although a high percentage of transmitters are dogs of human rabies cases in endemic areas “.
“With the decrease in rabies in dogs, as a consequence of their vaccination programs, other sources of infection have become important, such as, for example, the bats in the north of the American continent and in Europe, where it is now constituted the main reservoir. Rodents are rarely infected and no case of human rabies from a rodent bite has been documented, “he added.
Furthermore, López adds that “from the Spanish Veterinary Business Confederation (CEVE), it is recalled that the most likely form of rabies contagion to humans is the bite of a dog (95% of cases), but that it can also happen from a cat or a bat, although it would also be possible for other types of injury or for other species “.
In this sense, he has pointed out that “Vaccination through veterinarians and veterinary clinics is very important, as well as carrying out information campaigns so that travelers avoid risks of contact with possible carriers and, of course, in the event of contact, quickly obtain health care, in the event of any incident involving animals, especially in countries where rabies is endemic. In addition, it is essential to maximize border controls and public awareness of the enormous risk of introducing uncontrolled animals “.
“It is essential to maximize border controls and public awareness of the enormous risk of introducing uncontrolled animals”
On the other hand, the College of Veterinarians of Asturias has demanded the mandatory nature of the rabies vaccine for all dogs, cats and ferrets. In a press release, the collegiate body has stressed that the vaccine was no longer mandatory in 2002, except for potentially dangerous dog breeds. “Asturias is one of the four autonomous communities of Spain in which the vaccine is to inoculate these animals is voluntary”veterinarians add. The other three are Galicia, the Basque Country and Catalonia.
In the case of the Principality, the president of the Official College of Veterinarians of Asturias, Armando Solís, points out that “there is a paradoxical case, since the law only requires that dogs of potentially dangerous breeds be vaccinated annually, as if the rabies virus knew how to distinguish between the different races of dogs he has to attack. “
Thus, the president of the College of Veterinarians says that “faced with this incomprehensible situation the coordination of all the autonomous communities is essential to bring together criteria regarding the necessary measures for the prevention and fight against rabies, or a law that requires annual rabies vaccination of all dogs, cats and ferrets. “
“Although it is true that our country is a territory free of rabies, we cannot forget that there are conditions that must be taken into account,” says Solís. In this sense, he remembers that travel accompanied by pets to countries where rabies is a major problem is becoming more common public health. “Since 2004, several cases of rabies have been confirmed in dogs from Morocco that have developed the disease to arrive in France, after passing through our country,” explains Solís.
In addition, the president of the Official College of Veterinarians of the Principality puts the focus on two more activities that can pose a risk: The first, the movement of infected animals from endemic territories in North Africa, which increases with the existence of intense maritime traffic between these territories and Spain.
Second, Solís explains that Spain is one of the frequent destinations of the imports of puppies (many of them clandestinely) from Eastern European countries, territories where rabies is endemic.
For all this, he insists that “the health alert must be maintained with control programs in domestic animals through identification and periodic vaccination, requiring the maximum sanitary guarantees from animals from endemic countries “.