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3.3 Why is it necessary to conduct rabies surveillance in both humans and animals?

Rabies surveillance geared towards humans would only provide information on the disease burden in the human population and would clearly underestimate the true dimension of the problem in animals. Such a one-sided approach may help in instigating interventions for prevention of rabies in humans but will fail to identify the responsible reservoir hosts and will therefore be unable to tailor interventions for control and elimination of the disease at the animal source.

On the other hand, surveillance aimed at animals only would not capture the human burden in a given region or country, generating a false perception that impacts on human health are limited and rabies prevention should therefore not prioritized.

Rabies surveillance should include both humans and animals in a truly complementary manner. If no data exist to assess the true burden of rabies in terms of human lives lost, or true economic losses, rabies will remain a low priority for public health authorities and decision makers.


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[en]Version 1 Last updated December 2014[fr]Première version, dernière mise à jour Juin 2015