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Rabies control in Liberia: Joint efforts towards Zero by 30

Garmie Voupawoe 1, 2, 3 Roland Varkpeh 1 Varney Kamara 1 Sonpon Sieh 4 Abdallah Traoré 5 Cristian de Battisti 6 Angélique Angot 6 Luis Filipe L de J Loureiro 7 Baba Soumaré 8 Gwenaëlle Dauphin 9 Wolde Abebe 10 André Coetzer 11, 12 Terence Scott 11, 12 Louis Nel 11, 13 Jesse Blanton 14 Laurent Dacheux 15 Simon Bonas 15 Hervé Bourhy 15 Morgane Gourlaouen 16 Stefania Leopardi 16 Paola de Benedictis 16 Monique Léchenne 17 Jakob Zinsstag 2, 3 Stephanie Mauti 15, 2, 3, * 
Abstract : Despite declaration as a national priority disease, dog rabies remains endemic in Liberia, with surveillance systems and disease control activities still developing. The objective of these initial efforts was to establish animal rabies diagnostics, foster collaboration between all rabies control stakeholders, and develop a short-term action plan with estimated costs for rabies control and elimination in Liberia. Four rabies diagnostic tests, the direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) test, the direct immunohistochemical test (dRIT), the reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay and the rapid immunochromatographic diagnostic test (RIDT), were implemented at the Central Veterinary Laboratory (CVL) in Monrovia between July 2017 and February 2018. Seven samples (n=7) out of eight suspected animals were confirmed positive for rabies lyssavirus, and molecular analyses revealed that all isolates belonged to the Africa 2 lineage, subgroup H. During a comprehensive in-country One Health rabies stakeholder meeting in 2018, a practical workplan, a short-term action plan and an accurately costed mass dog vaccination strategy were developed. Liberia is currently at stage 1.5/5 of the Stepwise Approach towards Rabies Elimination (SARE) tool, which corresponds with countries that are scaling up local-level interventions (e.g. dog vaccination campaigns) to the national level. Overall an estimated 5.3 - 8 million USD invested over 13 years is needed to eliminate rabies in Liberia by 2030. Liberia still has a long road to become free from dog-rabies. However, the dialogue between all relevant stakeholders took place, and disease surveillance considerably improved through implementing rabies diagnosis at the CVL. The joint efforts of diverse national and international stakeholders laid important foundations to achieve the goal of zero dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030.
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Garmie Voupawoe, Roland Varkpeh, Varney Kamara, Sonpon Sieh, Abdallah Traoré, et al.. Rabies control in Liberia: Joint efforts towards Zero by 30. Acta Tropica, Elsevier, 2020, pp.105787. ⟨10.1016/j.actatropica.2020.105787⟩. ⟨pasteur-03112321⟩



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