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3.2.8 How do I make rabies a notifiable disease in my country?

Procedures for adopting (public and animal health) legislation vary considerably from country to country. Depending on the political and administrative organisation of a country, its legislation on notifiable diseases (both public and animal health) may apply nationwide or only to certain parts of the country.

Rabies in humans – Human rabies must be notifiable under federal health regulations applied by the Ministry of Health, as explained in chapter 4 of the WHO Guidelines for Dog Rabies Control, available here.

Rabies in animals – The Ministries of both Health and Agriculture are usually involved in establishing legislation for compulsory notification of rabies, in some cases with specialised advice from inter-ministerial zoonosis committees. The political commitment to create or adjust legislation on rabies may be strengthened by pressure from the general public, media attention, the human and animal health sectors, and also local governments (particularly those affected by dog rabies), Ministries of the Environment (in terms of wildlife conservation) and public order authorities (e.g. police). Many regional organisations (e.g. PAHO [2], UEMOA [3] etc.) have programmes to assist countries in updating and harmonising their legislation at regional level, including legislation on rabies notification.

At the international level, OIE [4] can assist its member states in revising and adjusting veterinary legislation, by evaluating the performance of veterinary services, conducting gap analysis and providing international standards, available here. You can also read here about the WHO guidelines for planning, organisation and management of veterinary public health programmes.


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Version 1 - Last updated November 2012