On September 28th, World Rabies Day brings healthcare experts together to spread awareness about rabies. They also find ways to prevent and control this deadly disease.
The United States, along with many countries throughout the world, observe this day. Even though rabies is 100% preventable, people around the world still die from it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 59,000 people die from rabies each year. Rabid domestic dogs cause over 99% of these deaths. About 95% of all rabies cases occur in Asia and Africa.
Rabies is a contagious viral disease of dogs and other mammals. Since rabies transmits through an animal’s saliva to humans, the virus is extremely dangerous. Rabies occurs on every continent except Antarctica. Education is vital for rabies prevention.
The World Health Organization (WHO) works with partners around the world teaching rabies prevention. Part of the program includes teaching how to avoid animal bites and reading animal behavior. They also teach that washing the wound after getting bitten is crucial for survival.
In 1885, Louis Pasteur and his colleagues developed a rabies vaccination. The vaccine protected dogs from getting rabies. Additionally, it prevented individuals from getting symptoms of rabies after getting bitten.
In the United States, laws require pet owners to vaccinate their dog for rabies. Not every country practices rabies vaccination, however. For this reason, people traveling to foreign countries, especially in Africa and Asia, should get the rabies vaccination.
Many major health organizations, including WHO and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), have pledged to eliminate deaths from dog-transmitted rabies by 2030.
How to Observe #WorldRabiesDay
Health organizations and veterinarians around the world hold special events to promote World Rabies Day. On this day, animal health professionals encourage pet owners to get their dogs vaccinated. Some communities hold rabies awareness workshops. Agricultural schools around the world distribute educational information on rabies prevention.
To observe World Rabies Day, make sure your dog’s rabies vaccination is up to date. Talk to your veterinarian about how you can detect rabies in wild animals. Some animals that commonly carry rabies include raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. Cats and cattle can also get the disease. Educate yourself on dog bite prevention. Teach your kids how to be careful around dogs and other animals. Share videos on social media that discuss rabies education. When sharing use #WorldRabiesDay.
World Rabies Day History
In 2007, the Global Alliance for Rabies Control established World Rabies Day to raise awareness and increase prevention of the disease worldwide. The United Nations, along with the Centers for Disease Control, the World Organisation for Animal Health and many others endorse the annual observance. The organization selected September 28th to commemorate the death of Louis Pasteur.
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