Rabies - Bulletin - Europe

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Way to new rabies vaccines?

In an attempt to prevent the rabies virus from shutting down vital defense responses in the immune system,
researchers at Monash University and the University of Melbourne believe they are the first to observe how
a particular protein made by the rabies virus binds to a critical cellular protein known as signal transducer
and activator of transcription 1, halting key parts of the immune response. Whether the discovery could
lead to the development of new rabies vaccines must be demonstrated.

Tripartite meeting emphasized commitment to eliminate rabies by 2030

Representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World
Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and WHO held a meeting at the OIE headquarter, Paris,
12-13 February 2020 to discuss how the tripartite can further collaborate with the global rabies community
through the 'United Against Rabies' (UAR) forum. As a result, a new job position of a Global Rabies
Coordinator was established and published, who will contribute to the UAR collaboration work by

France reports imported rabid dog

Rabies has been confirmed in dog from the municipality of Saint-Martin-de-Ré located at the French
Atlantic coast in February this year. There is reason to believe the dog must have contracted the infection
abroad because partial sequencing identified the rabies virus belonging to lineage Africa 1 that does not
circulate in Europe. While the owner confirmed having travelled with the dog outside Europe, the possible
site of infection is not known yet. The degree of sequence identity, however, suggest a very close genetic

Three imported human rabies cases reported from Europe within the last three months

As of 5 December 2019, after 16 years of absence, a human case was reported from Latvia. The infection
is likely to have been acquired during a visit to Asia. Another human rabies happened to occur in
November this year in Italy, where a man died after being exposed to a suspect rabid dogs during a
on the island of Zanzibar, Tanzania. As of 10 December there seems to have been a new report of a
human rabies in Spain case ex Morocco. These tragic human case fatalities underline the need of travel
advice relating to rabies.

Read more here:

Raccoon rabies and control in the US featured in National Geographic

The massive effort to tackle one of America’s greatest rabies threats – raccoon rabies – was recently
featured in the September issue 2019 of National Geographic. The inspiring article gives insights into the
National Rabies Management Program, the largest coordinated effort to control a zoonotic disease in
wildlife populations ever undertaken in the U.S. 

Read more here: Link

Canadian man died of rabies after bat exposure

A few days ago a young Canadian citizen died of bat associated rabies after a bat flew into him outdoors
on Vancouver Island, in daylight. Supposedly, the man had no visible bite or scratch marks and did not
develop symptoms linked to rabies until six weeks later. Unfortunately, he did not seek post-exposure
prophylaxis. The spillover rate of bat associated rabies to humans and animals is considered high
compared to other parts of the world. In Canada, there have been only 24 known cases since the 1920s,
with the most recent in Ontario in 2012 and Alberta in 2007.

Revision of the rabies policy in the Netherlands

Based on recent WHO guidelines revised in 2018 the Dutch rabies policy advisory board has revised it's
national rabies guidelines. As regards Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-exposure prophylaxis
(PEP) reduced vaccination regimens will be introduced, while it does not change for immunocompromised
patients. The administration of RIG for type III wounds has also been revised accordingly.

Reed more here: Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2019 May 20;163. pii: D3612.


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