This article reviews the feasibility of global eradication of rabies and factors affecting eradication of rabies in the world. Effective vaccines are now available against many viruses making eradication a viable proposition. As in the case of smallpox, the following questions should be addressed when the feasibility of eradication of a particular human virus disease is considered. Is the disease worth eradicating? Is there any animal reservoir? Is there a carrier state? Is effective vaccination available? How communicable is the rabies? What level of coverage is required for eradication? What are the possibilities for rabies control in reservoir hosts? Can rabies be controlled in wildlife reservoirs? Can the population density of reservoir hosts be reduced? Can contact between wild dogs and domestic dogs be minimized? Whether a virus disease can be eradicated or not depends on many factors, not least on the will power to implement such a policy. These factors include human (increased human activities and international travel; lack of adequate public awareness, proper surveillance, emergency preparedness planning, solid commitment and resourced initiatives among others); socioeconomic (major ecologic changes, agricultural practices, poverty, increasing demands for meat etc.); animal factors (illegal importation, population increase, migration of dogs, stray animals etc.); and vaccines and vaccination (low vaccination coverage and potent vaccines, vaccine failure, inferior vaccine quality, vaccine shortage, high cost, existence of multiple hosts, reservoir and healthy carriers etc.). Rabies eradication is not feasible because of the extensive factorsand the inability to eliminate reservoirs with existing technology. However, elimination of human rabies in urban areas may be possible through different strategies. Vaccination of stray dogs could lead to the eradication of rabies in countries where dog rabies is the sole source of human exposure. Research to design strategies for rabies control globally, is urgently needed. Additional genetic work will help to set priorities for the conservation of populations which may be genetically unique for spread of rabies and other related diseases.
Key words: Animal factor, continual endemicity, effective vaccines, eradicability, feasibility, human, socioeconomic, vaccination.
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