Rabies has been one of the endemic and notifiable diseases in Iran. As in many developing countries, misdiagnosis, poor public awareness and vaccine affordability are considered as the main hurdles for rabies control and surveillance. In Iran, an escalating trend of more than 200000 bitten individuals and about 2000 encephalitis of unknown etiology reports are recorded annually.
National Centre for Reference & Research on Rabies has been established in Pasteur Institute of Iran in 1923. The Sero-vaccination trials of WHO as an efficient method of rabies treatment/prophylaxis has been held in this center for the first time in the world which lead to the selection of this center as WHO-Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Rabies in 1970. Since that, this national body has provided the technical supports to national and global Rabies activities in the country and Middle East region including annual workshops for healthcare staffs from more than 800 animal bite centers in the country and international workshops on rabies diagnosis and surveillance for healthcare staffs coming from Middle East region. Further, this center has also participated in rabies diagnosis standardization WHO-program (RAGESTANBIO) which exerted a reasonable/acceptable results in rabies diagnosis examinations. Formalizing our designation as a WHO-Collaborating center with high-caliber staffs and expertise not only would work with the WHO-rabies strategic plans/guidelines, but also with its capabilities, would provide the requested technical supports for enhancing preparedness, response capacities, responding to outbreaks, and conducting research studies for the neighboring countries in the region.