A DORSET based charity has made a huge breakthrough in the battle against one of the world’s oldest known diseases.

Mission Rabies, a charity operating from Cranborne, has assisted Goa, the Indian state in becoming the first state in India’s history to be declared a Rabies Controlled Area.

Rabies kills a child every nine minutes and over 99% of human rabies cases are caused by an infected dog bite. A third of all deaths occur in India and there are 4.5 million exposures every year.

The charity established its programme in 2008 to demonstrate how new methods of rabies prevention could save lives. The announcement from the Government of Goa comes after zero human rabies deaths have been reported across the state since 2018.

Dr Luke Gamble, CEO and Founder of Mission Rabies, and a UK Veterinarian, said: “We’ve now delivered 540,593 vaccinations against rabies in dogs and educated nearly one million people in dog bite prevention across Goa, as well as set up 24-hour rabies surveillance, involving an emergency hotline, rapid response team, and a support team for dog bite victims.

“All of this led to Goa becoming the first state in India to stop all human deaths from rabies in 2018. An incredible achievement we’ve been able to support thanks to the leadership and strategic direction of the Government.

"It’s fantastic that we’ve now hit the next milestone in terms of controlling the disease in animal populations.”

Founded in 2013, Mission Rabies run all their projects from their base in Cranborne, with the charity working in countries such as Malawi, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Tanzania, Cambodia, and Thailand.