Two colleagues from a veterinary practice are travelling to Africa to vaccinate dogs against rabies and hopefully prevent the infection spreading to children.
The women, who work at Wendover Heights, are travelling as part of Mission Rabies which aims to protect people and animals against the potentially fatal viral infection.
Vet Lisa Angus, 33, joined the crusade when Mission Rabies was launched two years ago, and has already been to India twice.
This time she will be joined by head veterinary nurse Louise Scott, 26, when they travel to Malawi in May. They will be going to the city of Blantyre which has the highest number of child deaths from rabies in Africa.
In just 30 days they will be part of an international team aiming to vaccinate 50,000 dogs.
Miss Angus, who lives in Wendover, said: “Mission Rabies gives an opportunity to combine animal health and human health. It is a fatal infection to dogs and the numbers of people that get bitten and die is huge. It’s very important to me and when I went out the first time I saw the benefits for both dogs and humans.”
The women have worked together for more than six years and Miss Scott said she was inspired to join her colleague after hearing about the work she had done during her earlier trips to India.
Miss Angus said: “Rabies is a viral infection carried by mammals and the link with dogs is that 99% of human rabies comes from dog bites, so if we can eradicate it in the dog population the human rate will drop dramatically.”
When they are in Africa trained animal handlers will round up feral dogs, street dogs and owned dogs and restrain them while they receive a vaccination from local vets and international volunteers.
Miss Angus said: “The dogs are held for the minimum amount of time to reduce stress, it is done very quickly.”
The women have paid for their own flights and are each raising £350 as part of the mission to cover the cost of vaccines and the project.
During the first week Miss Scott, who lives in Bishopstone, will take part in an educational programme teaching children about rabies and the importance of quick action if they are ever bitten by a dog.