Rabies - Bulletin - Europe

Rabies Information System of the WHO

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OIE launches new laboratory network for rabies

Rabies is among three priority Global Programmes diseases for which the OIE, with the support of the Biological Standards Commission (BSC), in 2020 identified the need to strengthen the laboratory capacity of Members. The Network called RABLAB comprises all OIE Reference Laboratories for Rabies and will 

The BSC invited experts invited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA, and the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI), Germany), to lead the network. As soon as the Covid-19 pandemic permits RABLAB will start operating.

World Zoonoses Day

World Zoonoses Day, July 6, spotlights diseases caused by viruses, bacteria and parasites that spread
between animals and people. In 1885 Louis Pasteur administered the first successful rabies vaccine,
135 years later zoonotic disease prevention has been catapulted up the global agenda by Covid-19.
In a new article Professor Sarah Cleaveland and Professor Alexander Trees offer their thoughts on why
tackling rabies is a good place to start stopping zoonotic diseases and living the idea to make
One Health a reality.

Unusual rabies case in a cat from Italy

Recently, rabies has been laboratory confirmed in a cat from the Italian province of Arezzo, Tuscany.
On 27 of June 2020 the cat developed clinical signs suggestive of rabies and died four days later.
Because it attacked and bit three family members the cat was submitted for testing. Sequencing of the
isolated virus showed 98.52% homology with West Caucasian Bat Lyssavirus (WCBV). Although this
lyssavirus is known to be associated with Schreibers’ Bent-winged bat (Miniopterus schreibersii) as

Re-emergence of rabies in Bosnia Herzegovina

After more than six years of absence of rabies in Bosnia-Herzegovina a new case in a dog was detected.
The non-vaccinated animal was euthanized in the municipality of Potočari, Srebrenica, 6 km from the
border to Serbia on 28th May 2020 because of clinical signs suggestive of rabies. One day later rabies
was laboratory confirmed. While illegal importation of the animal can be excluded, contact with infected
wildlife is to be presumed. Genetic characterization of the rabies virus strain is pending. The documented

Jefferson scientists develop dual SARS CoV-2-rabies vaccine

In the global race for a SARS CoV-2 vaccine, scientists at Thomas Jefferson University are working on an
approach that will utilize an existing rabies vaccine as a carrier for the SARS-CoV-2 antigen by taking
advantage of the benefit that the ‘carrier’ vaccine has already been rigorously tested and shown to be safe
and effective. Next to fighting the current SARS CoV-2 pandemic, this dual vaccine candidate may do its
part in solving another serious public health problem in African and Asian countries – ending human
dog-mediated rabies by 2030.


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