PAHO/CaribVET Caribbean Regional Workshop on Rabies Surveillance: group photo of participants

In the Caribbean region, there are 10 countries known to be endemic for rabies with three distinct rabies reservoirs: dogs, mongooses and vampire bats. The results of a regional rabies survey conducted by CaribVET indicated that while most of these countries have some type of rabies surveillance program, few of the other (non-endemic) countries conduct any structured surveillance for rabies particularly for sylvatic rabies.

In light of the lack of surveillance data in many Caribbean countries, the rabies status of bat populations in non-endemic rabies countries can be challenged. As such rabies surveillance guidelines for bat populations need to be developed particularly for countries that are non-endemic for the rabies virus. Therefore, PAHO/PANAFTOSA and the CaribVET Veterinary Public Health working group (Rabies Subgroup) proposed to partner with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a workshop to develop rabies surveillance guidelines for bat populations in the Caribbean region.

The fundamental objectives of this workshop are:

  • To provide information on the recently developed WHO rabies risk classification system and the SIRVERA platform for the reporting of rabies cases
  • To develop surveillance guidelines for sylvatic (bat) rabies in non-endemic countries in the Caribbean
  • To train attendees on rabies surveillance methods including passive surveillance models
  • To present, discuss and validate a bat rabies ecological risk map for the Caribbean
  • To identify rabies diagnostic laboratories that can provide diagnostic support for surveillance in countries that currently do not have the capacity to conduct rabies laboratory testing.
  • To develop a road-map towards the establishment of a regional rabies reference laboratory for the Caribbean.

Event images

Opening Ceremony Head table panel (left to right): Dr. Alexandra Vokaty (PAHO Subregional Advisor in Veterinary Public Health),  Dr Bernadette Theodore-Gandi (PAHO/WHO Representative for Trinidad and Tobago), Dr. Saed Rahaman (Director, Veterinary Public Health Unit, Ministry of Health, Trinidad and Tobago)
Dr. Alexandra Vokaty (PAHO) welcomes participants to the workshop
Dr Bernadette Theodore-Gandi (PAHO) gives comments on behalf of PAHO/WHO
Dr. Janine Seetahal (Trinidad) talks about WRD during her presentation on the Rabies situation in the Caribbean
Dr. Ryan Wallace (CDC) presents on travel recommendations related to Rabies
Dr. David Kangaloo (Chief Veterinary Officer of Trinidad) presents on Rabies surveillance and control in Trinidad
Dr Susan Koenig (Jamaica) and Mr. Robert Griffith (Trinidad) hold discussions at end of day 1
Dr. Janine Seetahal (Trinidad) and Dr. Susan Koening (Jamaica) at the end of day 1
Dr. Maurice Frank (Trinidad) presents on bat species within the Caribbean
Prof. Christine Carrington (left) and Prof Christopher Oura (right) from the University of the West Indies (Trinidad) during workshop presentations
Dr. Clint Morgan (left) and Dr. Ryan Wallace (right) from the Rabies Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA) during workshop presentations
Dr. Jasayma Gonzalez (Cuba) makes comments during group discussions
Dr. Luke Rostant (Trinidad) makes comments during group discussions
Group photo of participants of the field exercise in bat trapping and handling facilitated by Trinidad and Tobago Bat Conservation and Research Unit (Trinibats)
Dr. Clint Morgan (CDC) - left, Mr. Robert Griffith (Trinidad) - right and Dr. Sonia Cheetham-Brow (Grenada) extract a bat from a mist net
Dr. Luke Rostant (Trinibats) demonstrates how to examine a bat
Dr. Luke Rostant (Trinibats) demonstrates how to take biometric measurements from a bat
Mr. Robert Griffith of the Anti-Rabies Unit, Ministry of Agriculture, Trinidad and Tobago speaks with Dr. Maurice Frank (Trinidad) and Dr. Astrid Van Sauers (Suriname) (left to right) about bat handling and identification
Participants of the field exercise in bat trapping and handling (left to right): Dr. Victoria Lashley (Trinidad), Dr. Patricia Valerio (Dominican Republic), Dr. Luke Rostant (Trinibats, Trinidad) and Dr. Linette Peters (Jamaica)