The mission of World Rabies Day – 28 September – is to raise awareness about the impact of human and animal rabies, how easy it is to prevent it, and how to eliminate the main global sources. Even though the major impact of rabies occurs in regions of the world where many needs are present, rabies should no longer be neglected. The tools and technology for human rabies prevention and dog rabies elimination are available.
Rabies in humans is 100% preventable through prompt appropriate medical care. Yet, more than 55,000 people, mostly in Africa and Asia, die from rabies every year – a rate of one person every ten minutes. The most important global source of rabies in humans is from uncontrolled rabies in dogs.
Children are often at greatest risk from rabies. They are more likely to be bitten by dogs, and are also more likely to be severely exposed through multiple bites in high-risk sites on the body. Severe exposures make it more difficult to prevent rabies unless access to good medical care is immediately available. This major source of rabies in humans can be eliminated through ensuring adequate animal vaccination and control, educating those at risk, and enhancing access of those bitten to appropriate medical care.
In 2006, a group of researchers and professionals formed a global Alliance for Rabies Control. They created and began inviting partners to join the World Rabies Day initiative. World Rabies Day now involves every major human and animal health partner at the international, national, state/provincial, and local levels as well as veterinary, medical and other specialized professional and student organizations, corporate and non-profit partners. The goal of this outreach is to mobilize awareness and resources in support of human rabies prevention and animal rabies control. With the initial goal of engaging 55,000 people to take action, one for each person who dies each year from rabies, the inaugural campaign in September 2007 saw participation from nearly 400,000 people in 74 countries! This overwhelming response was an important step forward for rabies prevention and control and further illustrates the widespread recognition of the need for action to control this easily preventable disease.
Since the inaugural campaign in 2007, World Rabies Day events have been held in 135 countries; educating 150 million people and vaccinating 4.6 million dogs.
Source: World Rabies Day.org