On August 2, 2020, the international rabies community lost one of its pioneers in the field of rabies
research and control when Prof. Dr. Konrad Bögel, long-standing head of the Veterinary Public Health
Department at WHO, died at the age of 89.
Prof. Konrad Bögel, born in Stuttgart on January 16, 1931, studied veterinary medicine in Vienna and
Munich. After working as a practicing veterinarian for a few years he followed his interests for laboratory
work and research, and joined the Federal Research Institute for Virus Diseases of Animals (BFAV; the
West German equivalent to the East German Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, FLI) in Tübingen from 1958 until
1968. During this time, he qualified as a professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich.
Always willing to explore new avenues, Konrad Bögel then moved as a renowned researcher to WHO,
where he worked as head of the Veterinary Public Health Department until his retirement in 1992.
Konrad Bögel started his work at WHO just in time to contribute significantly to the global fight against
rabies. As a strong supporter of the idea of international cooperation and the leading role of international
organisations he brought rabies researcher from all across the world under the aegis of the WHO together.
Thanks to his efforts the WHO Collaborating Centre for Rabies Surveillance and Research was founded
at BFAV in 1977 and to this day, now at FLI, hosts the world’s most comprehensive rabies data base
(Rabies Bulletin Europe). His wealth of scientific knowledge, his intense focus on particular problems and
his calm, selfless and humble way made him an essential and much esteemed member of the
international rabies community. Konrad Bögel played a decisive role in initiating standards and drafting
guidelines for dog rabies elimination programs and dog population management, while his passion was
the control of rabies in wildlife. Here, he was one of the first to coordinate rabies surveillance and control
at an international level by promoting the idea of oral immunization of foxes, an approach that resulted in
the successfully elimination of terrestrial rabies in large parts of Western and Central Europe.
Konrad Bögels work and results have been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, WHO
documents as well as book articles. We will honour the memory of a scientist to whom the international
rabies community owes a great deal.