By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

Although the term zoonosis is not often heard in everyday life, it defines a very common situation: the transmission of infectious diseases between vertebrate animals and human beings. One of the most common infections around the world is rabies. Caused by a virus transmitted after incidents involving different species of mammals, the disease can be fatal and vaccination has proven, over a century ago, to be the most effective way of coping.

Image/Robert Herriman

In 2022, the Ministry of Health distributed 24,084,650 doses of the vaccine against the infection to immunize dogs and cats across the country. The data account for immunizers delivered between January and September this year. Minas Gerais, Bahia and Ceará were the places that received the most doses: 4.4 million, 2.4 and 2.1 million, respectively.

The vaccine is distributed as requested by the state to be used in vaccination campaigns, in addition to routine applications and focus blockades, necessary when there are cases of rabies in animals and/or humans. The campaign takes place over the twelve months, but has a special focus on the second half. For the planning of the distributed quantity, each federative unit is asked to estimate the population of dogs and cats and the expected date for the start and end of the local campaigns.

But why is vaccinating animals a public health action?

Protecting pets is an animal rabies control strategy, as it blocks the contamination cycle for humans. Therefore, disease management is shared between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply.

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The two folders share information and promote actions to monitor the transmission of the disease in dogs, cats and wild animals, such as bats, wild dogs, foxes, cattle and horses.

In the case of dogs and cats in particular, the vaccination strategy has proven to be successful in preventing the spread of the disease. That’s because these animals, whose populations exceed tens of millions across the country, are responsible for most post-exposure anti-rabies care.

The immunization of individuals of these two species is part of the National Rabies Prophylaxis Program (PNPR), established in 1973. In the historical series from 1999 to 2022, Brazil went from 1,200 positive dogs for rabies, in 1999, to 2 cases of rabies in dogs until May 2022, all identified as wild animal variants.