Sri Lanka is the first country in the World Health Organization South-East Asia Region to develop a national strategy for elimination of dog-mediated rabies.

A canine suspected of being rabid that had been exhibiting signs of restlessness, and overall uncharacteristic aggressive behavior, which are two symptoms of rabies.

Sri Lanka’s goal is the elimination of rabies by 2020 and the progress to date has been impressive.

In all of 2015, the country saw 24 human rabies deaths and in the first half of 2016, only five deaths have been reported.

Political will and leadership have been the main drivers for success of the Sri Lankan effort to reduce the burden of disease attributable to rabies. Post-exposure prophylaxis, which is available in government health facilities, at no cost, to all bite patients, has been a main axis of the rabies-elimination strategy.

To attain the last mile in rabies elimination in Sri Lanka by 2020, more will need to be done to scale up dog vaccination, enforce responsible dog ownership, strengthen surveillance for animals and humans and conduct mass awareness programmes.

Director General of the Health Services Consultant Dr. Palitha Mahipala states the support of the general public is essential in this regard.