A MOOC to defeat rabies

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According to WHO estimates, each year 60,000 people die of rabies worldwide. 99% of the victims are infected by a dog. 100% of the cases are preventable by vaccination. To contribute to the objective defined by the international organizations WHO, WOAH and FAO “Zero cases of human rabies of canine origin by 2030”, the Pasteur Network has set up a MOOC dedicated to rabies control. Accessible on the Fun MOOC platform, the first session of the MOOC “Rabies” is in English with subtitles in English, French and Portuguese. Registration is free and open until February 7, 2023.

A deadly but preventable disease

Rabies is a viral infection affecting the nervous system which, once declared, is invariably fatal and for which dogs are responsible for almost all transmissions to humans. Since 1885, when Louis Pasteur developed the rabies vaccine, much progress has been made and dog-mediated rabies is now preventable. Nevertheless, rabies retains its status as a neglected zoonosis in Africa and Asia where 95% of reported cases are concentrated. Lack of knowledge, inaccessibility to vaccination and lack of control of canine rabies are all factors that explain the high incidence of this infection.

Sharing experiences and expert knowledge

With the aim of sharing their knowledge and experience, Pasteur Network researchers have set up the MOOC “Rabies”. Designed in the framework of a call for course funding, this MOOC brings together 25 international experts[1] , including 6 from Pasteur Network.  It has been funded by Pasteur Network, Institut Pasteur, Institut Pasteur of Cambodia and Institut Pasteur of Guinea.

This MOOC is composed of 7 chapters addressing rabies control in both humans and animals in the respect of the “One Health” approach. It includes general knowledge of the disease, such as virology, epidemiology, and diagnosis; a description of available vaccines and their associated vaccine strategies; therapeutic perspectives; a presentation of the role of international organizations in the goal of elimination by 2030; and finally, concrete examples of multidisciplinary approaches implemented in the field.

Towards “Zero cases of human rabies of canine origin by 2030”

Faced with the global goal of eliminating human rabies of canine origin by 2030, all the experts and international organizations involved have recognized the urgent need to provide training to medical and veterinary personnel, the target of this MOOC, alongside students and scientists interested in the complex control of this zoonosis. The MOOC “Rabies” thus supports this ambition of eliminating human rabies of canine origin by 2030 by providing participants with the tools to raise awareness in their community. Indeed, following this training, participants will be able to:

  • Present the disease: its transmission, symptoms and clinic;
  • Explain the importance of the different animal reservoirs in the propagation of the virus;
  • Describe rabies vaccination strategies;
  • Identify the role of relevant international organizations;
  • Discuss control strategies in different regions of the world.

Nearly 1,300 participants from 96 countries have already started to follow this online training either through the free ” Discovery Course” or through the ” Qualifying Course” in which the MOOC is followed by a certifying exam at a cost of 150€. The latter gives the opportunity to apply for the Institut Pasteur Online Diploma of Infectious Diseases (DNM2IP). 

For more information:

MOOC “Rabies”: https://www.fun-mooc.fr/en/courses/rabies/
5 reasons to take the “Rabies” MOOC: https://www.fun-mooc.fr/en/actualites/5-raisons-de-suivre-la-formation-rage/
“Zero by 30”: https://rabiesalliance.org/resource/zero-30-global-strategic-plan-end-human-deaths-dog-mediated-rabies-2030
DNM2IP: https://www.pasteur.fr/en/DNM2IP
Contributing to a global vaccination strategy to eliminate rabies by 2030 – Pasteur Network Annual Report 2017-2018: https://pasteur-network.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/1906_00035-riip2018-220×280-va-web.pdf#page=23

[1] Among the 25 experts: 6 come from the Pasteur Network from the Institut Pasteur de Guinée, the Institut Pasteur, the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge and the Institut Pasteur du Laos, 5 come from international institutions and 14 from research institutes in Africa, Asia, America and Europe. The WHO rabies reference laboratories, WOAH ( former OIE) and FAO are represented by 8 of these speakers.


A MOOC to defeat rabies

Pasteur Network