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  • Rabies and disease prevention

    Mayhew’s international teams in Afghanistan and Georgia are working to eradicate fatal diseases like rabies.

    Rabies control

    Mayhew works to protect lives, both animal and human, through the promotion and delivery of vaccination programmes for dogs with the aim of eradicating canine-mediated rabies and the most common infectious diseases in dogs.

    What is rabies?

    Rabies is 99.9% fatal. More than 96% of human deaths from rabies stem from bites by infected dogs and most of its victims are children. Sadly, rabies has been endemic in many countries where access to human rabies vaccines have been extremely limited and unaffordable for the average citizen. It has been proven that mass canine rabies vaccination is the most cost-effective way of eradicating rabies. To reach ‘herd immunity’ in a dog population, a minimum of 70% of the dogs need to be vaccinated to break the virus chain and upheld over consecutive years.

    ““It is vital that people understand the importance of rabies control for the health and safety of humans and animals.  This is a disease which is 100% preventable, and mass vaccination of dogs is a proven method of reaching that goal, as well as being the most cost-effective.””

    Caroline Yates

    Head of International Projects and Relations

    Mayhew’s work to eradicate diseases

    Mayhew’s international teams work in Afghanistan and Georgia to first survey the dog population, and then implement strategic, long term vaccination programmes in order to achieve and sustain herd immunity against rabies and other zoonotic diseases. Before Mayhew began its pioneering work in Afghanistan, there were on average 38 human deaths a year from rabies in Kabul, and the authorities carried out ineffective and inhumane dog culling to try and tackle the problem. Since Mayhew Afghanistan’s Country Director, Dr Abdul-Jalil Mohammadzai DVM, convinced the Kabul authorities to instead initiate Mayhew’s life-saving programme, 95,000 dogs have been vaccinated by trained local dog-catchers since 2017. Including our work in Georgia, over 100,000 dogs have now been vaccinated worldwide. We believe that education and changing human behaviour are key to improving animal welfare and creating safer communities for animals and people. Mayhew’s Community Engagement team address this by speaking to locals of all ages, explaining their work, talking about rabies and dog-bite prevention and how to behave around the roaming dogs in their city. Since May 2021, the team have reached 1,440 adults and 3,120 children through this work in Kabul.

    World Rabies Day

    World Rabies Day is the biggest event on the global rabies calendar, coordinated by Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) and it has been commemorated every year on September 28 – the anniversary of the death of Louis Pasteur, who pioneered the rabies vaccine. This year’s theme is One Health, Zero Death which reflects the fact that human and animal health are intrinsically linked. Mayhew’s preventative work in Afghanistan has meant that there have been no recorded canine-mediated rabies deaths in humans for the past 18 months in Kabul. And, that to date, there have been no confirmed cases of rabies in dogs coming through our programme. This is a landmark achievement that we are celebrating on this year’s World Rabies Day 2022. To continue to deliver this vital work and ensure we are improving the lives of dogs and people, we need your help. All of our work is funded by voluntary donations. Please consider supporting our international projects by making a one-off or monthly donation.

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