Rabies deaths in humans could be brought to a halt and eliminated worldwide through mass dog vaccination programs, according to a study published in Science magazine.
The study is named Implementing Pasteur's Vision For Rabies Elimination. The release of this paper coincides with the 119th anniversary of French scientist Louis Pasteur's death, who developed the rabies vaccine in 1885.
According to a team of international researchers, the elimination of rabies is cost-effective and achievable. This has been shown through the success of dog vaccination clinics held in the East African country of Tanzania, where as many as 1,000 vaccinations a day were performed in 180 villages.
As a result, the number of people killed by rabies in this region has dropped from 50 to almost zero per year, since the programme began in 2003.
Even though a vaccine exists the disease is estimated to kill 69,000 people a year worldwide, which equates to 189 people a day.
The viral disease rabies is mainly spread via the saliva of an infected dog. Once a person develops the symptoms of rabies, such as aggression, hallucinations, fever or excessive production of saliva, there is nearly a 100% chance they will die.
However, the disease is easily preventable but researchers say that due to political complacency and lack of international commitment, the disease is still needlessly killing thousands.
Guy Palmer, the co-author of the paper, said: "The irony is that rabies is 100% preventable. People shouldn't be dying at all."