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World Rabies Day, Sept. 28

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Monday, September 28, 2009 6:08 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Protecting Your Family, Animal Safety. Pets, Rabies, CDC, Dog Bite


IMAGE SOURCE: © World Rabies Day

The mission of World Rabies Day is to promote awareness and strengthen the message that rabies is a preventable disease.

In 2006, a group of researchers and professionals formed a global Alliance for Rabies Control. About 75 countries now participate in World Rabies Day events.

Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most rabies cases reported each year occur in wild animals such as bats, foxes, raccoons and skunks. Domestic animals account for 10 percent or less of reported rabies cases, with cats, dogs and cattle most often reported rabid.

The virus infects the central nervous system, causing encephalopathy and ultimately death. Early human symptoms of the disease are nonspecific, consisting of fever, headache and general sickness. As it progresses, neurological symptoms appear and may be accompanied by some or all of the following symptoms: anxiety, agitation, confusion, insomnia, hallucinations, difficulty swallowing and more. Death usually occurs within days of symptom onset.

Key Rabies Facts:

Rabies kills more than 55,000 people globally each year - a rate of one person every ten minutes. Relatively rare in the United States, most human deaths occur in Africa and Asia.

Most human deaths follow a bite from an infected dog, of which most are children 15 or younger.

Wound cleansing and immunizations immediately after contact with an animal suspected of having rabies, can prevent onset of the disease in most exposures.

Once signs and symptoms appear, there is no treatment for rabies, and in most cases the person will die.

Globally, the most cost-effective strategy for preventing rabies in people is by eliminating the disease in dogs through animal vaccinations.

Estimated public health costs associated with rabies detection, prevention and control have risen, exceeding $300 million per year. These costs include vaccinating companion animals, animal control programs, rabies laboratories and medical costs.

More information about rabies prevention can be found on the World Health Organization’s Web site. And you can donate to the World Rabies Day campaign.

Through the World Rabies Day initiative, partners are………Working Together to Make Rabies History!

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