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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

World Rabies Day: the Ministry of Agriculture and ANSES join together to discuss this highly topical disease

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News of 26/09/2014

September 28th is World Rabies Day. It is an opportunity for ANSES and the Ministry of Agriculture, Agrofood and Forestry to call attention to their commitment to the fight against this disease and their continuing action for heightening awareness of the ever-present risk of rabies introduction into France. To mark this day, they will be jointly organising a one-day event on October 9th for the various stakeholders involved in the surveillance and management of carnivorous animal movements. This event will provide a worldwide status report on rabies and emphasise the proper behaviour to adopt when faced with rabies, and with suspected cases or bites in particular.

Rabies is a viral disease which, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), continues to kill up to 70,000 people each year worldwide. Although metropolitan France has been rabies-free since 2001, cases of rabies do occur sporadically due to the unlawful introduction into France of domestic carnivores incubating the disease. The most recent case occurred in October 2013, when a kitten was brought into the Val d'Oise region of France from Morocco. Given these conditions, the Ministry of Agriculture and ANSES remain vigilant and are actively committed to fighting the ever-present risk of rabies introduction into France.

The Ministry of Agriculture and ANSES have therefore decided to jointly organise this one-day event, "Rabies a highly topical disease", and to invite the various stakeholders involved in the surveillance and management of carnivorous animal movements (healthcare professionals, veterinarians, air and maritime transport operators, scientists).

 

"Rabies, a highly topical disease" - Thursday 9 October 2014 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

12 rue de Prony – 75017 Paris

 

ANSES and rabies

The Nancy Laboratory for rabies and wild life, which specialises in animal rabies, plays a key role in the French rabies monitoring system. The laboratory contributes to rabies control through its research and development programmes. The laboratory performs research activities aiming to evaluate the pathogenicity of bat viruses circulating in France on domestic carnivores and wild carnivores (foxes and raccoon dogs) as well as on the ability of the lyssavirus to cross species barriers. It has helped to eliminate the virus in France, and participates actively in European and international eradication plans. As a National Reference Laboratory, it diagnoses rabies in animals which are not suspected to have contaminated humans.

In addition to its national activities, the laboratory also plays a key role at the European level with two European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) mandates, for rabies and rabies serology. It is in charge of evaluating laboratory performance both for classic diagnoses and for the post-vaccination serological testing of carnivores.

On the international level, the Nancy Laboratory for Rabies and Wildlife is the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reference laboratory for rabies. It provides expert appraisal and laboratory services which help to strengthen the capabilities of the national veterinary services of countries requesting assistance for rabies diagnosis and prophylaxis. It therefore contributes to the safety of trade.

It is also a collaborating centre for the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) for zoonosis management and therefore participates in the development and application of guidelines for rabies. It provides scientific expert appraisal on methods for controlling animal rabies.