Dr. Katinka de Balogh studied veterinary medicine in Berlin and Munich and obtained her doctorate in tropical parasitology and specialized in tropical animal production and Veterinary Public Health (VPH). After a short career as a zoo veterinarian in the Rotterdam Zoo she moved to Africa where she worked for a total of 9 years as a district veterinary officer (DVO) in rural Zambia and lecturer at the veterinary faculties of Lusaka (Zambia) and Maputo (Mozambique). Here she conducted dog ecology studies and organized large scale rabies vaccination campaigns involving veterinary students. She has also worked on rabies at World Health Organization (WHO) and since 2002 works for the Food and Agriculture Organization in various function at the headquarters in Rome and at the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. Currently Katinka is chairing a Working group of the United Against Rabies Forum on rabies strategic and operational support to countries.
Deborah is a postdoctoral medical anthropologist at the Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health & Comparative Medicine of the University of Glasgow. As a Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellow, she is currently carrying out a research project funded by the European Commission that combines ethnography and social epidemiology to explore the impact of cultural and religious factors on the management of human and dog rabies in rural western India. Deborah also works as a consultant for the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization. The main projects she contributed to include a global survey on the effects of the pandemic on rabies elimination programmes and the development of the first course on rabies – freely available to anyone – on the website of the WHO.
Rachel has worked in range of different settings including clinical veterinary medicine, global health policy and disaster response and holds a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery from Murdoch University and a Master in One Health from the University of Edinburgh. Rachel’s current role as Global Rabies Coordinator contributes to the development and maintenance of strong synergies between the Tripartite (OIE, WHO, FAO) and partner organisations and she coordinates the United Against Rabies Forum activities to support the implementation of the Global Strategic Plan to end human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030 (Zero by 30).
Dr Terence Scott is a Technical lead for Rabies at the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC). Terence’s responsibilities primarily focus on the coordination of World Rabies Day activities, the development of the Rabies Epidemiological Bulletin,
and the continued implementation of the Stepwise Approach towards Rabies Elimination (SARE) tool towards the development of national strategic plans. He is a member of the MERACON regional rabies control network steering committee and
through such network, provides technical in-country trainings and support to national governments and other stakeholders to assist efforts towards rabies elimination.
Dr Thinlay N. Bhutia graduated as a veterinarian from Nagpur Veterinary College, Maharashtra, in 1998. Upon graduation he returned to Sikkim, and worked for the Animal Husbandry Department, while also volunteering at the State Veterinary Hospital. Dr Thinlay Bhutia has been responsible for a number of initiatives to the benefit of Sikkim. In 2005/2006 he was involved in developing and nurturing the Sikkim Anti-Rabies and Animal Health (SARAH) programme created jointly by Vets Beyond Borders(VBB), Fondation Brigitte Bardot and the Government of Sikkim. The SARAH program is India’s first government sanctioned initiative for state-wide rabies and stray dog population control program. At the inception of SARAH, Dr Thinlay worked with VBB to ensure the banning of mass shooting of dogs on the basis that it is both inhumane and ineffective in controlling rabies. He also took the initiative in implementing India’s first state-wide annual mass anti-rabies vaccination campaign.
COVID-19 has inadvertently created a unique opportunity to share awareness of dog-mediated rabies to a wider audience while the world is cognisant of the reality of humans being affected by viruses of animal origin.
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: 18 SEPT 2020: For #WorldRabiesDay (September 28), Australian-based international animal charity Vets Beyond Borders (VBB) is collaborating with global organisations and experts in an exciting online event to raise awareness about the danger of rabies and the importance of vaccinating animals to reduce the incidence of this deadly viral disease.
Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the origins of viral diseases and animal-to-human transmission have become hot topics. Every year almost 60,000 people die from dog-mediated rabies – tragically children are greatly over-represented, comprising 40% of fatalities in Asia and Africa¹.
“Rabies can infect any mammalian species and is almost invariably lethal once symptoms develop, but thankfully it’s 100% preventable in humans and animals through vaccination,” said Dr Ian Douglas, Director and Chair of Vets Beyond Borders.
“Australia is very fortunate that the rabies virus is not yet present in its animal populations. However, it’s important to bring this deadly disease to public attention, as Australians are the world’s second most frequent travellers² and many have little understanding of the disease.”
The virus is typically spread through contact with the saliva of infected animals, most commonly as a result of dog-bite injury. Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) has estimated that more than 5.5 billion people live at daily risk of rabies infection.
VBB World Rabies Day Online Interview Series
World Rabies Day was established and is coordinated by GARC.
For the World Rabies Day 2020 Australian event, VBB is hosting an online interview series of international animal welfare and public health experts on the topics of rabies; collaborating and vaccinating to prevent humans deaths caused by canine rabies and the challenges faced following the advent of COVID-19.
VBB’s World Rabies Day production will feature experts from organisations around the world, such as GARC, WHO, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), World Animal Protection and Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer and President of the World Organisation for Animal Health, Dr Mark Schipp.
For a full list of speakers, please visit VBB’s website where the full-length video of interviews will also be available to watch on September 28.
VBB World Rabies Day Logo Design
Vets Beyond Borders also recently ran a World Rabies Day logo design competition and congratulates the winner Tiffany Cheung, a veterinary student at the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences.
VBB has been operating for 17 years vaccinating animals against rabies and assisting local governments in dog population management programs.
In India (where 36 per cent of the world’s rabies deaths occurᶟ), VBB was integral to the establishment of the Sikkim Anti-Rabies & Animal Health (SARAH) Program, which has achieved near elimination of dog-mediated rabies in that state⁴.
“During the 2019/2020 financial year, SARAH staff vaccinated 33,500 dogs against rabies⁵,” said Dr Douglas. “Another important component of VBB’s anti-rabies strategy is to educate local communities about dog-bite prevention and what to do if bitten. VBB provides veterinary volunteers to assist in this vital work and delivers training courses to help local vets refine and develop their clinical skills. We rely on donations to be able to continue to vaccinate street dogs against rabies and other infectious diseases.”
How can you help prevent the spread of rabies?
The Australian Government Department of Agriculture has released an educational video, ‘Keep a Top Watch’ on rabies in the community, as well as information on the signs of rabies.
The public can help prevent the introduction and spread of rabies by always declaring animals brought into Australia and immediately reporting any suspected case of rabies by phoning the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.
⁵ Government of Sikkim Dept of Animal Husbandry, Livestock, Fisheries and Veterinary Services 2019/2020 Annual Report.