No rabies in Latvia, declares animal health body

Since there have been no confirmed cases of rabies since the state began a country-wide eradication campaign in 2012, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has declared Latvia to have officially achieved a rabies-free status, national information agency LETA learned from the Food and Veterinary Service (PVD) Wednesday.

According to PVD spokesperson Anna Joffe, rabies had been a serious problem in Latvia since 1991 – altogether almost 6000 animals were confirmed to have had rabies with all the cases ending in the animals’ death. Of all rabid animals registered during the time until 2012, 78.5% were found in wild animals and 17.4% among domesticated dogs and cats. The record year for rabies in Latvia was 2003, when 964 cases were confirmed.

Thanks to European Union co-financing, in 2005 Latvia launched an oral vaccine campaign using aviation-dispersed baiting-feed methods to protect the territory from rabies. Since 2014 the feed-bait is only being used in border areas to keep any infected beasts from roaming in from neighboring countries Russia and Belarus.

Latvia had taken the option to self-declare the state free of rabies in December 2014 after the success of its surveillance and eradication program. On May 22 the OIE congratulated Latvia by publishing the rabies-free declaration in its official bulletin.


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