Review of rabies epidemiology and control in South, South East and East Asia: past, present and prospects for elimination

Zoonoses Public Health. 2012 Nov;59(7):451-67. doi: 10.1111/j.1863-2378.2012.01489.x.


Rabies is a serious public health problem in Asia. It causes substantial animal welfare, economic and human health impacts, with approximately 39,000 human deaths each year. Domestic dogs are the main reservoir and source of rabies in Asia. Common constraints for the control of rabies in the countries of Asia include inadequate resources; lack of political commitment to control programs; lack of consensus on strategy; weak intersectoral coordination and inadequate management structure; insensitive surveillance systems; limited accessibility to modern rabies vaccine and supply problems; lack of public awareness and public cooperation; and the existence of myths and religious issues. In this review, we summarize the epidemiology of rabies in both human and animals in each South and South East Asian country, the past and current approaches to control and the prospect for rabies elimination. We conclude that defining the cost of rabies to society and communicating this to decisionmakers might be the key to achieving such an advance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asia / epidemiology
  • Disease Eradication*
  • Dogs
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Humans
  • Public Health
  • Rabies / economics
  • Rabies / epidemiology*
  • Rabies / mortality
  • Rabies / prevention & control*
  • Zoonoses