Rabies & One Health: From basics to cross-sectoral action to stop human rabies deaths

Despite being fully preventable, dog-mediated human rabies kills tens of thousands of people every year, especially in rural and impoverished areas in Africa and Asia. This course provides participants with knowledge about the biology and epidemiology of this Neglected Zoonotic Disease, the current “Zero by 30” rabies elimination strategy, and how to prevent rabies in people and dogs by taking a One Health approach. The learning package consists of seven modules, which include downloadable video-lectures by global experts and professionals confronted with rabies in the field.

Photo credit: WHO/ Budi Chandra

Language: English

Course information

This course is also available in the following languages :

Français - Русский - Українська - العربية


Rabies is a fatal zoonotic disease most often transmitted to people via bites from infected dogs. This course provides a general introduction to rabies, and the One Health approach currently taken to prevent it. It consists of seven video-lectures, demonstration videos, and lessons learnt from people who work at the frontline of rabies elimination programmes around the world. It targets both a general audience and those who would like to learn more about rabies and the pathway to eliminating this disease – like prospective and current public health and animal health practitioners in rabies endemic countries.

Learning objectives: By the end of this course, participants should be able to:

  • Describe the basics of the infection biology and eco-epidemiology of rabies in dogs and humans;
  • Discuss comparatively the burden of rabies in different parts of the world, highlighting hotspot countries and regions;
  • Define the main pillars of the Zero by 30 rabies elimination strategy and the role of associated stakeholders;
  • Illustrate the main strategies to prevent rabies in people and dogs, and the critical role of disease surveillance to support elimination;
  • Justify the importance of a One Health approach to prevent and control rabies, providing specific examples of public health interventions in different contexts of the world;
  • Debate the main challenges for rabies elimination and the areas that need to be reinforced, providing specific examples of pragmatic and locally adapted solutions and opportunities for innovation;
  • Advocate for effective collaborative approaches to control and prevent rabies.

Course duration: Approximately 3 hours

Certificates: A Record of Achievement certificate will be available to participants who score at least 80% in the final assessment. Participants who receive a Record of Achievement can also download an Open Badge for this course. Click here to learn how.

Course contents

  • Module 1: Introduction to rabies: history, burden and biology:

    By the end of this module, you should be able to: acquire a basic knowledge about human and dog rabies biology; understand the burden of dog-mediated human rabies on rural and poor communities in the Global South and learn how rabies can be prevented.
  • Module 2: The “Zero by 30” rabies elimination strategy:

    By the end of this module, you should be able to: realize why we must eliminate rabies; learn about the “Zero by 30” rabies elimination strategy and how it uses a One Health approach and know what the United Against Rabies Forum does.
  • Module 3: Preventing rabies in people:

    By the end of this module, you should be able to: learn what to do in case of an animal bite; understand how rabies pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis work and appreciate how rabies vaccines and rabies immunoglobulin should be used.
  • Module 4: Preventing rabies in dogs:

    By the end of this module, you should be able to: understand why mass dog vaccination is the most effective and cost-effective measure to eliminate dog-mediated human rabies; learn the steps needed for a successful mass dog vaccination and appreciate the importance of community engagement in mass dog vaccination programmes.
  • Module 5: Awareness and community empowerment:

    By the end of this module, you should be able to: understand how to prevent dog bites; learn what activities are organised on World Rabies Day, locally and globally and appreciate how to empower school children and communities at large.
  • Module 6: Diagnosis and surveillance:

    By the end of this module, you should be able to: understand the importance of surveillance; learn what is needed to ensure consistent data collection and reporting and appreciate how strengthening the rabies surveillance system through a One Health approach benefits the control of other diseases.
  • Module 7: Rabies as an example of One Health economics:

    By the end of this module, you should be able to: appreciate why rabies elimination needs a One Health-based investment model; understand why rabies is an excellent example of One Health in action and realize why rabies elimination is a necessary investment.
  • Module 8: Integrated Bite Case Management:

    By the end of this module, you will: explain what Integrated Bite Case Management is; why it is useful for the prevention of human rabies deaths and the overall control of dog-mediated rabies; and recall what it looks like in action.
  • Special Resource: Human rabies vaccination programme implementation:

    This special resource illustrates WHO's "Guide to introducing human rabies vaccine into national immunization programmes"
  • Special Resource: Dog population management:

    In collaboration with ICAM, this special resource explains what dog population management is and how it supports effective and sustainable rabies control programmes.
  • Final assessment

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Certificate Requirements

  • Gain a Record of Achievement by earning at least 80% of the maximum number of points from all graded assignments.
  • Gain an Open Badge by completing the course.