We are delighted to present a comprehensive report on the successful proceedings of the 5th meeting of the GF-TADs Standing Group of Experts on Rabies (SGE RAB-5), which took place on July 4th, 2023, with over 40 participants present from 14 countries and three international organizations.
During the meeting, SGE-RAB Member countries* provided insightful reports on their respective epidemiological situations, ongoing activities, and plans concerning oral vaccination against rabies (ORV) and disease surveillance. The exchange of knowledge and experiences shed light on the progress in combatting this deadly disease across different regions. In line with the focus on eradication efforts, experts presented follow-up activities on their projects on rabies eradication in the Western Balkans. Moreover, attention was brought to the commendable work of the EU reference laboratory for rabies, specifically addressing baiting effectiveness.
A core highlight of the discussions centered on the crucial need for coordination between national veterinary authorities in conducting ORV campaigns and establishing robust passive surveillance mechanisms. This coordination was emphasized as a pivotal factor in successfully eradicating rabies and safeguarding both human and animal populations. Addressing funding and procurement challenges was another essential aspect of the meeting, as these factors significantly impact the progress of various countries in their fight against rabies. The participants actively engaged in discussions to explore potential solutions and strategies to address these challenges effectively.
The 5th SGE RAB meeting marked another crucial milestone in the fight against rabies. It underscored the importance of knowledge-sharing, collaborative action, and strategic planning in advancing the cause of rabies eradication worldwide.
It was agreed to hold the next meeting in June 2024, preferably in-person to foster deeper engagement and facilitate fruitful exchanges among Members, experts and partners, reinforcing the commitment to combat rabies collectively.
GF-TADs Secretariat sincerely appreciates all participants’ contributions and dedication as we continue to work together towards eradicating rabies from our communities.
*Members of the SGE Rabies: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo**, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
Invited Countries: Moldova, Poland, Ukraine.
** References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999)