Policy ForumSCI POLICY

Implementing Pasteur's vision for rabies elimination

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Science  26 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6204, pp. 1562-1564
DOI: 10.1126/science.1256306

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It has been 129 years since Louis Pasteur's experimental protocol saved the life of a child mauled by a rabid dog, despite incomplete understanding of the etiology or mechanisms by which the miracle cure worked (1). The disease has since been well understood, and highly effective vaccines are available, yet Pasteur's vision for ridding the world of rabies has not been realized. Rabies remains a threat to half the world's population and kills more than 69,000 people each year, most of them children (2). We discuss the basis for this neglect and present evidence supporting the feasibility of eliminating canine-mediated rabies and the required policy actions.