Serbia – the Rabies issue goes on and on.
Today, SAV have been in contact by telephone with the OIE; the ‘World Organisation for Animal Health’, http://www.oie.int/eng/en_index.htm starting in Brussels and then moving through to Paris, the headquarters of the OIE. We need to ascertain exactly the situation regarding Rabies in Serbia; including;
- How large are the alleged outbreaks ?
- What animal species are involved ?
- Are / have the OIE been informed and kept up to date of these alleged rabies outbreaks in Serbia by the OIE ‘official delegate’ in Serbia – Dr Zoran Micovic, Chief veterinary Officer, Ministry of Agriculture and Water Management ?
- If they have not been informed by Dr Micovic, then why not ? – he is the official delegate for the OIE in Serbia
- Are the OIE monitoring the situation in Serbia with regard the alleged infected regions ?
- Are the OIE encouraging the use of Serbian authorities to undertake a national oral vaccination programme of all animals which could be affected ?
- If not, why not ?
- Is the OIE aware that Serbian hunters could be out killing many wildlife animals which are NOT affected by rabies, and that this may be supported and even encouraged by the Serbian government and authorities ?
- What is the official reporting procedure / structure that the Serbian OIE ‘official delegate’ in Serbia – Dr Zoran Micovic should be undertaking to keep the OIE informed of what is happening ?
- Where is this documentation being held ?
- Is the information available to animal welfare NGO’s such as SAV ?
SAV aim to be in discussion with the OIE Sub-Regional Representative in Brussels during next week (31/05-04/06) in order to further investigate and ask / discuss the alleged Serbian rabies outbreaks.
It is understood that 170 million Euros were given to Serbia by the EU during the financial period 2009/10, and that some of this money was provided for the vaccination of animals against rabies within Serbia.
So, what is the situation now ? – we hope to obtain more answers during the coming week(s) when we hope to be in discussion with the OIE.
According to information supplied from our contacts within Serbia, we are told that Rabies is ‘everywhere’ in Serbia.
Whilst it is not doubted that there are some cases of rabies within the country, it has to be questioned what are the real reasons for all these alleged ‘everywhere’ outbreaks. More importantly, it has to be asked why, when provided with such huge amounts of financial support from the EU, and with such a wide range of (animal) oral vaccines for rabies available now, the Serbian government has allegedly still not shown any intention on embarking on a nationwide programme of oral rabies vaccination for all stray animals (ie. Dogs and cats) and wildlife such as foxes ?
We ask, would this (oral vaccine) thus prevent hunters and the government from using rabies as the reason to undertake their mass enjoyment of the mass killing of animals in Serbia ? – a way and excuse to allow for large number killings of stray animals.
Very Important Point:
It should be remembered that the original (old) legislation to allow stray killing – named Pravilnik 29/94, was overwritten by Article 168 of 2005, the result being that all killing of animals was forbidden apart only from cases for Rabies infected areas, which were covered by application of Articles 64 and 65 of the Veterinary Law.
This is the important point, that animal killing is illegal apart only from cases for Rabies infected areas, which were covered by application of Articles 64 and 65 of the Veterinary Law.
It would seem strange that there are alleged mass outbreaks of rabies across Serbia now.
In effect, Article 168 of 2005 which does not allow animal killing is replaced by legislation that DOES ALLOW animal killing, simply because there is allegedly rabies in areas. The word ‘rabies’ being the one which specifically gives right to animal slaughter rather than animal protection.
Even more strange that rabies is supposedly breaking out right across Serbia; which therefore allows all strays and wildlife to continue to be killed by ‘by-passing’ legislation of Article 168 of 2005 – the no kill animal legislation.
No rabies in area = legislation Article 168 = NO animal killing, only animal care.
Rabies in area = Articles 64 and 65 of the Veterinary Law = Mass animal killing.
So, we suggest that a national rabies outbreak has suddenly arrived en masse, been invented, devised etc in order that the continued mass slaughter of all animals can continue, when in fact, Article 168 which should allow for the care of animals, is very conveniently being by-passed.
Is rabies the new alibi which is being ‘created’ by Serbian authorities in order that they can undertake mass killings of both strays and wildlife animals such as foxes ?
In the financial period 2009 / 10, the EU allegedly donated 170 million Euros to Serbia for vaccination of animals against rabies and swine flu. So what has happened to the money ?
Serbia is a relatively small country in terms of landmass and we envisage that a rabies oral vaccination programme could be undertaken nationwide within a 1 month period.
Immunity of animals against rabies would start approximately 2 weeks later and animals would have an immunity against rabies for a period of 3 years.
“Dog rabies control programs by parenteral vaccination in developing countries often fail because an insufficient number of dogs can be vaccinated. Oral vaccines allow for easy mass vaccination and is proposed for the vaccination of large ownerless dog populations. Intervet/Schering Plough Animal Health is in the process of developing an oral rabies vaccine.
Previous rabies control programmes using baits containing other oral rabies vaccines to vaccinate foxes in some European countries and wildlife in certain US states, have been successful”.
http://www.rabies-vaccination.com/intervet-oral-rabies-vaccine.aspOral vaccine strain – SAD – B19
“The vaccine virus SAD B19 is the most widely used oral vaccine virus to immunize wild life in Europe. The distribution of more than 100 million vaccine baits in 13 countries has resulted in a significant decrease in the rabies incidence or complete eradication of terrestrial rabies in baited areas.
Vaccine induced rabies has not been reported from any country where this vaccine virus has been used. However, this vaccine has some residual pathogenicity for certain rodent species after intracerebral inoculation”.
“In developed countries the risk to humans has been minimized mainly due to mandatory rabies vaccinations of dogs and other pets. Progress in the control and elimination of wildlife rabies has been made through successful oral vaccination programs”.
Publication links –
Other information sources and links:
“There is an immune response to the rabies antigen which creates antibodies to fight off the disease. After two to three weeks the “blueprint” to create rabies antibodies exists in the animal’s immune system which can easily be created should the animal be exposed to a rabid animal”.
Recombinant rabies vaccine (V-RG)
Aerially distributed wildlife rabies vaccine in a bait from Estonia.
In 1984 researchers at the Wistar Institute developed a recombinant vaccine called V-RG by inserting the glycoprotein gene from rabies into a vaccinia virus. The V-RG vaccine has since been commercialised by Merial under the trademark Raboral. It is harmless to humans and has been shown to be safe for various species of animals that might accidentally encounter it in the wild, including birds (gulls, hawks, and owls).
V-RG has been successfully used in the field in Belgium, France, Germany and the United States to prevent outbreaks of rabies in wildlife. The vaccine is stable under relatively high temperatures and can be delivered orally, making mass vaccination of wildlife possible by putting it in baits. The plan for immunization of normal populations involves dropping bait containing food wrapped around a small dose of the live virus. The bait would be dropped by helicopter concentrating on areas that have not been infected yet. Just such a strategy of oral immunization of foxes in Europe has already achieved substantial reductions in the incidence of human rabies. In November 2008, Germany had been free of new cases for two years and is therefore currently believed as being rabies-free, together with few other countries (see below). A strategy of vaccinating “neighborhood dogs” in Jaipur, India, (combined with a sterilization program) has also resulted in a large reduction in the number of human cases.
The human diploid cell rabies vaccine (H.D.C.V.) was started in 1967. Human diploid cell rabies vaccines are made using the attenuated Pitman-Moore L503 strain of the virus. Human diploid cell rabies vaccines have been given to more than 1.5 million humans as of 2006.
Aside from vaccinating humans, another approach was also developed by vaccinating dogs to prevent the spread of the virus. In 1979 the Van Houweling Research Laboratory of the Silliman University Medical Center in the Philippines, then headed by Dr. George Beran, developed and produced a dog vaccine that gave a three-year immunity from rabies. The development of the vaccine resulted in the elimination of rabies in many parts of the Visayas and Mindanao Islands. The successful program in the Philippines was later on used as a model by other countries, such as Ecuador and the Yucatan State of Mexico, in their fight against rabies conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organization.
In addition to these developments, newer and less expensive purified chicken embryo cell vaccine, and purified Vero cell rabies vaccine are now available. The purified Vero cell rabies vaccine uses the attenuated Wistar strain of the rabies virus, and uses the Vero cell line as its host.
We hope that discussions with the OIE next week will provide more of an insight into the rabies situation in Serbia. After all, the OIE should be informed of all rabies outbreaks in order that they can keep their world disease outbreak database updated.
And as we have shown, the OIE allegedly does have a Serbian ‘official delegate’ in the form of Dr Zoran Micovic, Chief Veterinary Officer, Ministry of Agriculture and Water Management.
We trust that Dr Micovic would be informing the OIE of all the Serbian rabies outbreaks; but we also appear to be witnessing on the OIE web site that there is in fact nothing which appears to substantiate this !
Maybe next week will clarify the situation or shine a light on a bit more of what is happening.