Following the 1st Middle East and Eastern Europe Rabies Expert Bureau (MEEREB) meeting held in Turkey in 2010, the group of rabies experts from 8 participating countries met in June 2012 in Paris, France for the 2nd meeting, together with representatives from the Institute Pasteur and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control to discuss the rabies situation in their respective countries, its evolution, the problems encountered and the solutions.
Human rabies, number of animal bites and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) administered are notifiable in all MEEREB countries however reliable rabies data in the region still remain scarce especially regarding human rabies reporting. Thanks however to MEEREB members’ active participation, a clearer image of the rabies situation in the region is becoming more apparent.
MEEREB participants stated that human rabies transmitted by dogs can be and should be eliminated from the region and discussed requirements to conduct a successful rabies elimination program. Although in all MEEREB countries a legal framework for rabies control exists, most often rabies elimination is not considered as a public health priority. In addition, although some rabies control measures are already in place, there is still a significant disparity among the MEEREB countries as to each country’s response to its rabies situation. Furthermore, some of the conditions for successful rabies elimination programs are not met. MEEREB members agreed that reinforced intersectional collaboration and “One Health approach” are the keys for successful rabies control.