Southern and Eastern African Rabies Group

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2001, meeting in Lilongwe, MALAWI


Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentleman,

May I welcome you all to this, the sixth meeting of the Southern and Eastern African Rabies Group in this, the tenth year of our operation. At the end of each meeting there is intense competition to host the next meeting and we are delighted that on this occasion Malawi was chosen. Sadly, Sheik Ndaomba, who had attended many of our meetings and was instrumental in bringing us to Malawi, passed away in February last year and I would ask you to stand in silence for a minute while we re- member with gratitude the life of Sheik and convey to his family our condolences.

Our first meeting was held in Lusaka, Zambia, in 1992. It was a gathering of scientists and administrators with an interest in rabies, aiming to establish the true extent of rabies in the ten countries that attended. We did not anticipate meeting again, but what we found convinced us that the disease was far more prevalent than anticipated, so we established the Group and held further meetings in Southern Africa. Since then we have grown like topsy and now cover 18 countries, an area 10% larger than that of the USA and with 25 million more people. In addition to more countries, we now try to attract a Vet and a Medic from each country and are permanently linked to WHO.

We are a voluntary group, with no governmental backing and no resources. Therefore, we have to raise funds for each meeting and we are indebted to WHO, our principle backer, to commercial companies including Chiron-Behring, Biovacc, Merial, Intervet and Virbac and to other donors such as the Wellcome Foundation and the Chief Scientist’s Group in the U.K.. Special mention must be made of the Chiron Award, which is of $3000 to be presented at each biennial meeting to enable the continuation of existing projects or the establishment of new projects. Applications for the Award will be judged by an expert panel and the winner will be notified accordingly. Another special mention should be made of the generous gift by Merial of a CD-ROM devoted to rabies for each delegate. Part of our work is to disseminate knowledge of the disease and I shall be giving a presentation of how the CD- ROM can be used to best effect later in the programme.

In addition to these donors we are aided by the contributions of rabies experts from many countries. We will be privileged in the day or two ahead to have presentations from some of the worlds leading rabiologists from Africa, North and South America, Europe and Australia.

Of course, we cannot hold a meeting without the considerable support of the host nation. Here, Gift Wanda has been “our man in Malawi” and has worked diligently to organize transport to and from the airport, negotiated favourable terms with the hotel, organized the training course which took place at the Central Veterinary Laboratory yesterday and carried out a host of other tasks. He could not have done this work without the support of his Director, Danny Chinombo who, in addition to arranging a cocktail party for us all tonight, has kindly agreed to act as Chairman of the Malawi meeting.

This meeting would not have been possible were it not for the efforts of our Secretary, George Bishop. It is he who has picked up the pieces of the early disasters with travel arrangements and has done so much to ensure that we have a successful meeting. George is a tough cookie from South Africa and if you have any problems I’m sure he’ll be willing to help you. Our Programme Manager is Alex Wandeler and he has put together a scientific programme that we hope you all find instructive and intriguing. Finally of our Group, our IT specialist is Jacques Barrat. Jacques is a very quiet man, for a Frenchman, but he will be running the overhead projector, the slide projector and the LCD projector and he will help all those presenters who need these facilities.

We hope that you have an enjoyable and memorable meeting. It has been made possible by all the donors, contributors and workers I have mentioned to you and I hope that you will show your appreciation of them by joining me in a generous round of applause. Towards the end of the programme we will have a session devoted to Quo Vadis, meaning where do we go from here? After ten years of work it is right that we should review progress and, where necessary, make changes.

This Group belongs to you, the national representatives. Are you satisfied with your achievements? What more can you do? Should we continue to meet? Should we broaden our horizons and invite more countries? Every meeting takes a huge amount of fund-raising – could your country do more to contribute to your financial support? These are just a few questions, which I hope you will consider before the Quo Vadis debate, and your contribution to this debate is crucial to the future of SEARG.

Now, it is my great pleasure to hand you over to Danny Chinombo, our Meeting Chairman.

Arthur King


Country reports
Rabies in Botswana: Botswana ministries of Health and Agriculture
Rabies in Burundi in 1999 and 2000: S. Masabo and D. Siniremera
Rabies in Eritrea: T. Tekleghiorghis and T. Yosief
Rabies in Ethiopia: E. Ymer Ahmed
Rabies in Lesotho between 1999 - 2000: Department of livestock services, veterinary services division
Rabies in Madagascar: R. Razafinandrasana and C. Maharavo
Rabies in Malawi: B.A.R. Chimera and P.B. Chikungwa
Rabies in Mozambique: M.E. Pinto
Control of rabies in Namibia: F. Mettler, M. Uanguta and O.J.B. Hübschle
Rabies in Kenya: M.J. Macharia, J.L. Kasiiti, A.K. Karuga, J.W. Mburu and S.G. Gacheru
Rabies in South Africa: G. Bishop
Rabies in Sudan: Y. Hassan Ali
Rabies in Swaziland: R.X. Dlamini
Rabies in Uganda: C.S. Rutebarika
Rabies in Zambia: A. Mutemwa and P. Mijere
Rabies in Zimbabwe: W. Shumba and A. Zezai
Bat rabies
The bat lyssaviruses of Africa: J. Bingham
Mokola virus, a brief review of the //status quo//: L.H. Nel
Vampire bat rabies in the Americas: C. Vargas
Human deaths from bat rabies in the United States: J.S. Smith, L.A. Orciari, P.A. Yager and S.L. Messenger
European bat rabies: A. King
Studies in Australian bat lyssavirus in flying foxes, domestic cats and dogs: K.A. McColl, T. Chamberlain, R. Lunt, K. Newberry and H.A. Westbury
Rabies control
The elimination of rabies in Latin America, example of Mexico: C. Vargas
A dog rabies vaccination campaign in rural Africa, impact on incidence of animal rabies and human bite injuries: S. Cleaveland, M. Kaare, P. Tiringa and T. Mlengeya
Rabies in Flores, Indonesia. Comparisons and contrasts to rabies control in Africa: J. Bingham
Keeping rabies out by surveillance strategies, vaccination and serology: A.R. Fooks
Cost and effectiveness of disease control for endangered species, vaccinating target and reservoir hosts to control rabies in Ethiopian wolves: M.K. Laurenson, D.T. Haydon and the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme
The rabies control pilot project in Malawi: C.B. Chizonda and M. Bacchiochi
Baiting for Lycaon pictus: D.L. Knobel
Is it possible to vaccinate young canids against rabies and to protect them?: J. Barrat, E. Blasco, M. Lambot, F. Cliquet, B. Brochier, C. Renders, P.P. Pastoret and M.F.A. Aubert
Oral vaccination with SGA2 baits and international rabies control: O. Segal
Some observations on rabies epidemiology and control: A.I. Wandeler
Rabies data management systems in W.H.O.: F.X. Meslin
Using dog bite injury data to estimate human rabies mortality in Tanzania: S. Cleaveland, E.M. Fèvre, M. Kaare, P.G. Coleman
Perception and knowledge about rabies: K.K.I.M. de Balogh, E.H. Frumau and C. Hankanga
An outbreak of rabies in South Darfur, Sudan: Y. Hassan Ali
Traditional and cultural beliefs, factors influencing post exposure treatment: J. Godlonton
A new African rabies textbook: P.E. Kloeck
A review of rabies post-exposure treatment (PET) data in Uganda, 1990-1994: R. Winyi Kaboyo, F. Kamunvi, A.K. Mbonye
SEARG business meeting
SEARG iconography: J. Barrat
SEARG quarterly bulletin
Quo vadis session: A. King, G. Bishop and A. Wandeler

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