World Rabies Day is celebrated every year on September 28 across the world to provide awareness on control and prevention of this life-threatening disease. It also reminds that the fight against rabies is not yet finished. Today, rabies disease is killing thousands of people every year, therefore, has become the main health concern worldwide. For this, World Rabies Day provides an opportunity for an awareness campaign to prevent rabies. Including this, various health organisations have taken the pledge to eradicate human death from these diseases by 2030. This year the theme of World Rabies Day is “Rabies: Vaccinate to Eliminate”. The purpose of this theme is to provide awareness on rabies vaccination.

The World Rabies Day was first celebrated on 28 September 2007 with the main focus to provide awareness about rabies prevention. This day also marks the Louis Pasteur’s death anniversary, a French microbiologist who along with his associates developed the first vaccine for rabies.

Rabies is a fatal viral disease that is usually transmitted by an animal bite. With time, symptoms appear like headache, fever, excess salivation, muscle spasms, mental confusion, and paralysis for which immediate treatment is required. Rabies is 100% preventable if treated timely.

Prevalence of Rabies Viral Disease

Every year, rabies disease causes around 59,000 deaths globally, of which 95% of deaths occurring in Asia and Africa. Also, millions of people lose disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) due to this disease. As per surveillance data of 2018, around 50, 000 persons affected due to contact with an infected animal in the United States alone. Dogs are the main source; contribute 90% of all transmission mode of rabies virus to humans. With this, annual incidences of rabies are found in a different population, which are discussed below:

  • In humans, around 2.33 cases per 100,000
  • In dog, 412.83 cases per 100,000
  • In equines, 67.68 cases per 100,000
  • In cattle, 19.89 cases per 100,000
  • In goats, 14.45 cases per 100,000

Why World Rabies Day is Important

The Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), an organization that aims to eradicate deaths from rabies, designed the World Rabies Day platform for rabies community to increase the awareness regarding issues with rabies and to provide the possible solutions to impact people’s health. Currently, human deaths from rabies can be prevented due to the presence of safe and efficacious rabies vaccines, but lack of awareness has still become the main roadblock to achieve success.

With this, the World Rabies Day also encourages both political and social environment to support the required policy changes and assisting them to attract resources for rabies prevention & control program. Two broad components play a significant role for prevention and control of rabies, i.e., human rabies prevention and animal rabies control, both components spread the awareness across the people to control and prevent the rabies disease.

Objective of World Rabies Day

This GARC alliance has been approved as a tremendously fruitful campaign since its establishment for the awareness about rabies. The World Rabies Day also hosts the vaccinating events for pets under the age of 12 months. To get knowledge about rabies is the first step to eradicate rabies from both humans and animals lives. The main objectives of the World Rabies Day are to:

  • Increase the global rabies awareness and its control and prevention way
  • Enhance the education criteria, mainly to healthcare professionals and children in rabies’s endemic countries
  • Provide the resources to fund the local rabies control and prevention programs

Nowadays, the GARC has integrated online platform, where groups of rabies control and prevention register their events on the World Rabies Day and also provide funds to support their message for rabies prevention. For wild animals, the campaign of World Rabies Day boosts the national collaboration for rabies prevention. On September 28, the campaign represents the complexity of rabies, how rabies virus infects human beings, wildlife, animals, and need of interdisciplinary tactic to control and prevent the rabies virus.

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