12 Apr 2023 (India) – The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as OIE), Regional Representation for Asia and the Pacific (RRAP), Japan, jointly with the WOAH Reference Laboratory for Rabies based at Karnataka Veterinary Animal and Fisheries Sciences University (KVAFSU), Bengaluru, India; the Commonwealth Veterinary Association (CVA); and Karnataka Veterinary Council (KVC), organised the WOAH Sub-Regional Training Workshop on Animal Rabies Diagnosis for South Asia at the Veterinary College, Hebbal, Bengaluru, India from 18 to 21 January 2023.
Fourteen government officials working on rabies diagnosis, surveillance and control from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka including an observer from Zambia were trained on concepts and practical aspects of the WOAH-recommended occipital foramen brain sampling, lateral flow immunoassays, direct fluorescent antibody tests (DFA) and direct rapid immunohistochemical test (DRIT).
Besides theory, all participants received hands-on training on how brain samples can be collected using a non-invasive method via the occipital foramen approach. This was followed by a demonstration of lateral flow immunoassays (rapid tests) that can produce results in a few minutes. Participants were trained on the details of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for DFA and DRIT tests, and received hands-on practice in the use of these diagnostic tests.
The KVAFSU team, led by WOAH expert Dr Shrikrishna Isloor provided training with the provision of training facilities at the veterinary college in Bengaluru.
The training was conducted with financial support from the Japan Trust Fund and Commonwealth Veterinary Association. KVAFSU and CVA provided local logistics and training facilities.
The impact of this training is already visible. For instance, Dr Naresh Joshi from Nepal has already confirmed several cases of rabies in dogs, cattle, goats using the occipital foramen approach of brain sampling, and using lateral flow assays for diagnosis.
A WhatsApp group has been created through which WOAH RRAP is constantly following up with the participants as to how they are using their knowledge in enhancing animal rabies diagnosis and surveillance in the field.
In about six months, WOAH RRAP will follow up with participants to see what initiatives and progress has been made on rabies diagnosis and surveillance in these countries.
The agenda and training materials used at the training can be accessed below.