Jean Blancou was born on August 28, 1936 in Bangui (Central African Republic). He is the son of Lucien Blancou (1903-1983), a well-known wildlife specialist in central Africa. Jean Blancou obtains his diploma of the National Veterinary School of Toulouse in 1960, and pursues his studies of tropical veterinary medicine in Paris until 1963. He perfections his knowledge of immunology, microbiology, biochemistry, statistics and zoology, in particular with the Pasteur Institute, before obtaining his Doctorate in Biological Sciences at the University of Nancy in 1982.
Jean Blancou begins his career as technical adviser of the Ethiopian veterinary services, where he directs the rinderpest campaign in the south of the country. From 1965 to 1967, he is the deputy director of the national veterinary laboratory of Niger, where he is responsible for the diagnosis of animal diseases and the production of animal vaccines. Appointed director general of the Madagascar national veterinary laboratory between 1968 and 1974, he starts his research on the diagnosis and control of dermatophilosis and bovine tuberculosis, along with other bacterial and parasitic diseases. In 1975, he’s appointed head of the Senegalese national veterinary, a position that he holds until 1977.
From 1977 until 1990 he will be first deputy director, then director of the Research centre for rabies and diseases of wildlife, a WHO Collaborating Centre, based in Nancy. Throughout this period, he pursues research on the diagnosis, the etiology, the epidemiology and control of rabies.
Between 1988 and 1990, Jean Blancou heads the Animal Health and Protection Department of the National centre for veterinary and animal research (CNEVA) at Maisons-Alfort. On January 1, 1991, he is elected Director-General of the Office International des Epizooties , meanwhile renamed World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
Jean Blancou is the author of more than 370 scientific publications dedicated to the study of animal diseases, the production and control of biological agents. He has contributed to numerous chapters in publications, in particular dedicated to rabies or vaccinology.
Jean Blancou passed away this November 10th at age 74. The OIE Regional Representation for Africa, the OIE Sub-Regional Representations and all its personnel, expresses its deep and painful emotion and sympathy, as well as its most sincere condolences, to the French veterinary community and the family of the already dearly missed Dr. Jean Blancou, former Director General of the OIE, and signatory of the hosting agreement of the Regional Representation for Africa.