Science & Technology

UGA seminar to focus on the rabies virus

Athens, Ga. – Experts from the University of Georgia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia Department of Public Health will gather on Nov. 14 to discuss the rabies virus in a symposium titled “Rabies: An Old Disease with New Tricks.”

The symposium, organized by UGA’s Division of One Health, will take place in room 175 of UGA’s Paul D. Coverdell Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but organizers ask that attendees register online in advance at A free lunch will be provided to registrants.

One Health is a concept describing the interconnectedness of human, animal and environmental health. Experts at this symposium will discuss rabies epidemiology, clinical presentation, vaccines and prevention in Georgia, the United States and abroad.

“Rabies exists on every continent except Oceania and Antarctica, and once symptoms of the disease develop, it is almost always fatal,” said Susan Sanchez, professor of infectious diseases in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine and head of the Division of One Health. “The experts we have assembled for this meeting will help us understand the threats posed by the rabies virus and what steps we can take to protect ourselves and our animals.”

More than 55,000 people die of rabies every year, usually after exposure to an infected animal. If humans receive the proper immunizations and treatment after exposure, their lives can be saved. But these treatments are not always available, particularly in developing communities with limited resources.

“This is an excellent opportunity to hear world-renowned experts discuss cutting edge research on new treatments for rabies and how we can better monitor the disease in the wild,” Sanchez said. “Rabies has been with us for a long time, but we have to keep working to prevent as many deaths as possible.”

Speakers at this symposium are Jesse Blanton, Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, CDC; Cherie Drenzek, state epidemiologist, Georgia Department of Public Health; Zhen Fu, professor, UGA College of Veterinary Medicine; Sonia Altizer, associate professor, UGA Odum School of Ecology; Julie Gabel, state public health veterinarian, Georgia Department of Public Health; Melissa Ivey, epidemiologist, Georgia Department of Public Health; Neil Vora, Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, CDC.

Sponsors include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute’s Division of One Health and the Office of the Vice President for Research.