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Rabies Can Be Prevented – World Rabies Day

Rabies Can Be Prevented – World Rabies Day

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  • World Rabies Day observed annually on the 28th September hopes to create and spread awareness about rabies, a disease caused by the rabies virus
  • Humans get the disease following bite by infected animals, usually dogs, whose saliva contains the virus

Importance of World Rabies Day

  Rabies causes approximately 55000 deaths worldwide each year, with nearly 95 percent of deaths occurring in Asia and Africa. Most of the deaths are due to dog bite, and sadly nearly half the deaths occur in children less than 15 years. These deaths can very well be prevented by educating the public and creating awareness about the importance of vaccinating pet and community animals and prompt vaccination of all persons bitten by animals, assuming the animal is infected (unless we know that the animal has been vaccinated against rabies).


At the global conference on rabies elimination, held in 2015, the various agencies involved such as the World Health Organization, World Organisation for Animal Health, UN Food and Agriculture Organization and GARC unanimously agreed on the goal and theme for 2017 namely World Rabies Day 2017 - Rabies, Zero By 2030

World Rabies Day - How it Came about

The World Rabies Day was founded by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) and held the inaugural campaign on the 7th September 2007 in which 74 countries took part.

From 2008, the World Rabies Day is observed on the 28th September in honor of the death anniversary of Louis Pasteur who developed the first effective rabies vaccine. Since then it has become a global event with the World Health Organization (WHO) supporting the cause.

The logo of the World Rabies Day is a globe in blue and green. The green shapes in the globe are that of a bat (left), human (center), and dog or canine figure (right). The words "World Rabies Day" and the event's date is typed in black, around the outer aspect of the globe. These details are enclosed within a black circle around them, completing the symbol.

Ways of Creating Awareness about Rabies and its Prevention

The aim of World Rabies Day is to raise awareness about rabies and its prevention to the global population, with special focus on Asia and Africa where the disease is still a major cause for concern. Some of the ways of achieving this include the following
  • Obtaining information leaflets, posters and other educational resources on rabies from the web online and distributing it to the public in person in public spaces such as parks and shopping malls.
  • Resourceful individuals can create their own educational material and posters and distribute it in their neighborhood and share it on social media.
  • Events can be organized in the community including schools and health centers with messages displayed prominently and distribution of educational materials to the public
  • Using the social media such as Facebook and Twitter to share and spread the symbol and message of World Rabies Day to as many people as possible
  • Putting out ads and messages about World Rabies Day and prevention of rabies in the print media as well as radio and television highlighting the theme and message
  • Doctors and health personnel, especially those working in endemic areas are encouraged to access these materials from the internet and use them effectively to educate their community about rabies and its prevention.
  • Pet clinics can offer subsidized vaccinations for pets and urge owners to vaccinate their pets
  • The government and local administration should also get actively involved in the campaign to eliminate rabies by 2030 by ensuring community animals and street dogs are vaccinated
  • Awareness walks, runs and bike rides may be held to spread the awareness of the disease in the community.
Over the years, since its inception in 2007, rabies awareness has increased in Asia and Africa and 1700 events have been officially registered in the 10 years of its observance. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN has recognized the importance of World Rabies Day in spreading the message among the public as well as the administration in control and prevention of rabies.

About Rabies - In Brief

Rabies is a zoonotic (spread from animals to humans) caused by the rabies virus. Humans are infected by the bite of infected animals, usually dogs. The virus spreads from the blood to reach the brain and causes acute encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).

Initial symptoms of rabies in humans include a pricking or itchy sensation at the site of bite associated with fever, tiredness and muscle pain. Within a few days, it progresses to symptoms of brain involvement such as confusion, anxiety and agitation. With progression, there may be delirium, abnormal behavior, hallucinations and sleeplessness.

The disease is almost invariably fatal in humans unless postexposure prophylaxis (i.e. administration of antirabies vaccination following dog or animal bite) is given promptly before the disease becomes symptomatic.
References :
  1. World Rabies Day - (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Rabies_Day#Events)
  2. World Rabies Day - 28th September - (https://rabiesalliance.org/world-rabies-day)

Source: Medindia

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