Over 26,000 dogs vaccinated in one week in Mumbai as momentum builds for rabies-control across India - Veterinary Practice
Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now

×

Over 26,000 dogs vaccinated in one week in Mumbai as momentum builds for rabies-control across India

Large-scale canine vaccination campaigns, such as this one, stop the spread of the disease at its source and protect human and animal lives

Rabies vaccinations have been administered to 26,951 dogs during an intensive one-week vaccination drive across Mumbai and surrounding cities in India, as part of a mission to make Mumbai rabies free.

The large-scale campaign, which ran from Monday 26th February to Friday 1st March 2024, focused on the vaccination of free-roaming dogs to stop the spread of the disease, which causes approximately 20,000 human deaths in India each year.

The project was spearheaded by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in partnership with Mission Rabies, a project of UK veterinary charity Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS).

As 99 percent of all human rabies deaths are the result of infected dog bites, Mission Rabies’
vaccination projects aim to vaccinate 70 percent of any given dog population, the coverage needed to
eliminate the disease in dogs and prevent human deaths.

Dr Luke Gamble, CEO and founder of WVS, launched Mission Rabies in 2013: “It is devastating that more children die from rabies in India than any other nation, especially when rabies is completely preventable. Large-scale dog vaccination programmes are scientifically proven to be the most effective way to control the disease and save both human and animal lives. Vaccinating 26,951 dogs in just a week is an incredible achievement by a dedicated and passionate Indian-led team. This intensive campaign is an important part of a much wider project led by the local government to vaccinate close to 100,000 dogs in the
Mumbai region this year, and we are honoured to support the BMC in their efforts to rid Mumbai of this cruel and deadly disease. This project is a pivotal step for rabies control in India and we are hugely grateful to the many partners, volunteers and supporters, who have made this possible as we work to create a rabies-free world.”

The drive, which was supported by many local non-profit organisations and volunteers from
India and around the world, marked the beginning of an annual mass dog vaccination project in
the city.

Dr Maria King, a veterinarian from Manchester, volunteered at the Mumbai drive and told us:
“Vaccination goals were met and exceeded, as were my expectations of this journey. If there is
such thing as a calling in life, then I have found mine. It was an honour to help serve on the front
line and make a difference!”

Throughout the project, 60 teams administered vaccines across the designated areas, recording the vaccination locations and information about each dog in the charity’s bespoke data collection app.

Rabies was declared a notifiable disease by Maharashtra State Health Department in 2022, and a partnership between the BMC and Mission Rabies was formed in 2023 to work towards making Mumbai a rabies-free city.

The Mumbai initiative follows the success of rabies control work in Goa, a state which was
declared a rabies-controlled area in 2021 – the very first of its kind in India. The breakthrough
was the result of ten years of work by Mission Rabies and the Government of Goa, setting a
precedent for other states to follow.

The 2024 Mumbai vaccination drive is part of a broader national plan in India to eliminate
human rabies deaths by 2030. Dr Aswin Susheelan, Mission Rabies’ project lead for the
Mumbai project, explains: “Once symptoms develop, rabies is 100 percent fatal, so it is vital that we protect communities from this threat. Large-scale canine vaccination campaigns, such as this one, stop the spread of the disease at its source and protect human and animal lives. The completion of this mass vaccination drive is a significant milestone in advancing rabies control measures in Mumbai. It is now crucial that we keep this momentum going as we work towards the goal of eliminating human rabies deaths across India by 2030.”

Have you heard about our
IVP Membership?

A wide range of veterinary CPD and resources by leading veterinary professionals.

Stress-free CPD tracking and certification, you’ll wonder how you coped without it.

Discover more