World Rabies Day is designed to raise awareness about both human and animal rabies. The theme this year is ‘Rabies: Educate. Vaccinate. Eliminate’. The day is also about teaching everyone about the impact of rabies, how to prevent it and how to eradicate sources of the disease across the world.
Since it started the day has educated over 100 million people and vaccinated over 3 million animals against the disease.
One person every ten minutes dies from rabies every year. Yet human rabies is completely preventable if adequate rabies treatment is given.
How do you know if you might have rabies? Signs you’ll want to look out for are numbness at the spot you were bitten, a high temperature and hallucinations. It can literally drive you mad.
The majority of rabies related deaths is in Africa and Asia. Children are particularly vulnerable because they are most likely to be bitten by dogs with uncontrolled rabies. This major source of rabies can be avoided through pet vaccination, education of children and ensuring proper access to medical resources.
In 2006 when researchers and professionals formed the Alliance for Rabies Control the goal was to generate awareness and resources to contribute to rabies prevention and control. Furthermore, the Global Alliance for Rabies Control now has every major national and international animal health partner on board.
The first World Rabies Day in 2007 exceeded expectations with 400,000 people taking part across 74 countries. That has now spread across 125 countries and you can be a part.
I’ll be playing my part by making sure my friends and family have their pets vaccinated. I also like the range of World Rabies Day products so I might have a little shopping expedition on the day!
You can get involved by volunteering with local animal control personnel or veterinarians, organising an event or simply donating!