Each year on Sept. 28, the world unites in the fight against rabies. World Rabies Day is a global health observance created to raise awareness about rabies, and enhance prevention and control efforts. Co-sponsored by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Alliance for Rabies Control (ARC) since 2007, events are held in countries across the globe.
Celebrating the interdependence of human and animal health, this year’s theme is “Together Against Rabies.” Rabies is a preventable, neglected disease that takes the life of one person every 10 minutes. Nearly 85% of those who die from rabies are from impoverished communities in rural areas of Africa and Asia. A study published in 2013 found that while rabies currently costs the world’s poor $124 billion, it could be prevented for just $6 billion.
|Photo Credit: Lynn Pannicke|
That’s why this global initiative is so important at the grassroots level. Preventing and controlling rabies begins at home, where we can take the necessary steps to keep ourselves, our families and our pets free from horrible disease.
Again, we must take care of our own pets. It’s an excellent time to have your dogs and cats vaccinated, and to learn more about avoiding the animals that typically transmit rabies – raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes.
Too often, fear of rabies pitches people against dogs. It’s estimated that 20 million dogs around the world are indiscriminately culled every year in misguided attempts to control the disease. But when dogs are vaccinated, it helps to halt the disease at its source and prevent human deaths.