September 28 is World Rabies Day
Imagine a world in which rabies is nothing more than a distant memory. According to the World Health Organization, eradication of rabies is possible – simply by vaccinating dogs.
Everyone has heard of rabies, but there are a lot of myths surrounding this disease. The Global Alliance for Rabies Control has declared September 28 of each year to be World Rabies Day to help spread the word that we can put an end to rabies in pets and humans.
Here are some facts about rabies:
- Rabies is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be transmitted from animals to humans.
- It is a virus that is transmitted through saliva or tissues from the nervous system – it is most commonly transmitted through a bite.
- Every year, approximately 59,000 people die of this disease, and up to 40% of them are children under the age of 15.
- Each year, more than 15 million people around the world receive a post-exposure vaccine.
- Once symptoms develop, rabies is nearly always fatal.
In North America, rabies is most commonly transmitted by bats. Since bats with rabies often don’t fly well, people may pick them up, thinking they are helping an injured animal. If you find a bat in your garden or home, don’t touch it. And since bats have tiny teeth, you may not even feel a bite, so if you ever wake up in a room with a bat, or find a child or any person who can’t tell you what happened in a room with a bat, seek health care assistance immediately.
An ounce of prevention:
- The best way to prevent rabies is to vaccinate all of your pets – particularly your dogs. If you have any questions about your dog’s immunizations, contact your veterinarian.
- People who work in animal control, kennels, laboratories, and so on, can get pre-exposure vaccinations.
- Keep children and pets away from wild animals and pets you don’t know.
- Keep garbage secure and don’t leave food outdoors that could attract wildlife.
- Bat-proof your home.
- Contact animal control to report stray or ill animals.
Rabies is a horrifying disease that results in tens of thousands of unnecessary human deaths, and countless deaths in dogs, too. This September 28, spread the word that together we can put an end to rabies.