World Rabies Day

World Rabies Day Quick Facts - US

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2024 DateSeptember 28, 2024
2025 DateSeptember 28, 2025

World Rabies Day

World Rabies Day in

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World Rabies Day History

World Rabies Day aims at raising awareness about rabies prevention and control measures, while also commemorating the efforts of individuals and organizations working to eliminate the disease. Rabies is a viral illness primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected animal, such as dogs, bats, raccoons, and skunks. If left untreated, the disease is almost always fatal once symptoms appear. However, vaccination and post-exposure prophylaxis can effectively prevent rabies in humans and control the spread among animals.

World Rabies Day was first observed in 2007, spearheaded by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) in collaboration with various international partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In the United States, rabies is still a concern due to the presence of virus-carrying wild animals, such as bats and raccoons. According to the CDC, rabies is most commonly reported in the eastern half of the country, with raccoon bites accounting for the majority of cases. Consequently, it is crucial for the American public to be aware of the risks and preventive measures associated with rabies exposure.

To observe World Rabies Day in the United States, various organizations and communities conduct educational programs, vaccination clinics, and public awareness campaigns. These events emphasize the importance of vaccinating pets, reporting stray animals, and seeking medical attention if exposed to a potential rabies source. By reinforcing these best practices, World Rabies Day reinforces the country's commitment to reducing rabies cases and ultimately achieving the global goal of zero human rabies deaths by 2030. The observance takes place annually on September 28th, coinciding with the death anniversary of Louis Pasteur, who developed the first successful rabies vaccine.

World Rabies Day facts

  • The theme for World Rabies Day in 2023 was All for 1.
  • Common rabies carriers include; raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes.
  • Dog bites are the main source of human rabies deaths, contributing up to 99% of all rabies transmissions to humans.
  • Rabies is extremely rare. There are fewer than 1,000 cases in the US per year.
  • Hawaii is the only completely rabies-free state in the US.

Top things to do in the US for World Rabies Day

  • Make sure pet's vaccines are up to date.
  • Watch Rabies: The Fearful Disease, a documentary that dives into the science behind rabies, its transmission, and the efforts to prevent and cure it.
  • Consider volunteering at animal shelters, wildlife rehabilitation centers, or public health organizations involved in rabies prevention and education.
  • Stay updated with news articles, scientific journals, and public health reports on rabies outbreaks, new vaccination protocols, and research. This will help you stay informed about the current state of rabies in America.

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