(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) Sept 28, 2015 – September 28 marks the 9th annual World Rabies Day, an international event created to help raise rabies awareness and save lives. While only one to two people die annually from rabies in the United States, the disease kills more than 59,000 people worldwide (40 percent under the age of 15) kills millions of animals and creates fear-based slaughter of dogs in developing countries.
“The public needs to know that mass killing of dogs will not eradicate rabies but even a 70 percent canine vaccination rate will control a rabies outbreak, said Dr. René Carlson, past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and its director of international affairs. Dr. Carlson chairs the Pan-American World Rabies Day Initiative.
According to The Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), while most human cases of rabies are the result of a dog bite, dogs are not to blame for rabies; they are just as much victims as people. Improving animal welfare and keeping dogs rabies-free helps to keep people rabies free. To mark World Rabies Day, GARC along with the World Health Organization (WHO), The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) published Rationale for investing in the global elimination of dog-mediated human rabies which calls on countries to invest in cost-effective and sustainable control programs, particularly in the mass vaccination of dogs.
“Rabies is 100 percent preventable. Because the United States has emphasized vaccinating dogs for rabies since the 1950s, most people do not realize rabies is a huge problem in much of the rest of the world. The panic that sets in due to a rabies outbreak in some countries often results in mass slaughter of dogs. Keeping dogs free from rabies helps to keep people rabies free. Veterinarians across the globe are working with medical communities to end rabies together.”
For more information on rabies and World Rabies Day, visit the AVMA World Rabies Day page, which features links to information on vaccination and a podcast on rabies research.