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It has become something of a tradition for researchers at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (now part of the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency) to organise an energetic challenge over the summer to raise awareness of the annual World Rabies Day, which falls on September 28 each year. Having climbed Snowdon in 2009 and sailed round the Isle of Wight in 2010, this year they took to their bikes. Organisers Dan Horton and Emma Wise of the AHVLA report
THE arrival of a team of UK rabies researchers at the Institut Pasteur, Paris, is not unusual in the ongoing global fight against the disease. This time though, the team that arrived there on August 13 had a different challenge ahead – to cycle 200 miles back to the AHVLA's laboratories at Weybridge, Surrey.
Vets and virologists from the AHVLA were joined by colleagues from the University of Cambridge, the Institute for Animal Health and Defra to complete the challenge. The variety of participants – from clinicians, to policymakers and mathematical modellers – illustrates the multidisciplinary approach needed to control rabies. It also meant there was a great mix of characters, and never a dull moment on the 200-mile journey.
The rationale and choice of route were straightforward: as the foundations for modern rabies vaccination were established by Louis Pasteur himself, it was fitting that the challenge started in front of …