World Rabies Day

World Rabies Day Quick Facts - GB

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2024 Date28 September 2024
2025 Date28 September 2025

World Rabies Day

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World Rabies Day History

World Rabies Day is an annual observance dedicated to raising awareness about rabies and its prevention across the globe. It aims to educate communities on the threat of rabies and empower individuals to take action against the potentially fatal disease. As a zoonotic disease, rabies affects both animals and humans, with over 99% of cases transmitted through dog bites. Due to the high risk of fatality without prompt treatment, the focus is on prevention strategies, including vaccination of pets, stray animal control, and public awareness campaigns.

World Rabies Day was inaugurated in 2007 as a collaboration between the Global Alliance for Rabies Control and the World Health Organisation. In the United Kingdom, the last indigenous case of rabies occurred in 1902, and rabies-free status was declared in 1922. Nevertheless, there have been rare instances of rabies-infected animals entering the UK from other countries. The UK has implemented strict regulations including pet passports, microchipping, and vaccination requirements under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) to prevent the reintroduction of the disease.

To observe World Rabies Day in the United Kingdom, various public and private organisations conduct educational campaigns focusing on responsible pet ownership, the importance of vaccination, and travel precautions. Veterinary clinics and animal welfare groups may also offer reduced-cost rabies vaccinations for pets. The UK holds these events and activities on September 28th, the same date as the global observance of World Rabies Day, to show solidarity in the fight against this deadly disease.

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.
  • Despite being declared free from terrestrial rabies, a type of rabies called European Bat Lyssavirus (EBLV) has been found in two species of bats within the UK. This specific form of rabies can be transmitted to humans, although extremely rare, with only one confirmed human case in the UK, dating back to 2002.
  • Any human cases of rabies in the UK have been imported. Since 1946, there have been 25 cases of human rabies reported in the UK, all of which were acquired abroad from animal bites or scratches. The most recent case was in 2019 when a UK resident contracted rabies after being bitten by a dog in Morocco.

Top things to do in the UK for World Rabies Day

  • Make sure pet's vaccines are up to date.
  • Visit official government websites related to public health, animals, or agriculture in the United Kingdom. These websites often provide information on Rabies, including prevalence, control measures, and regulations.
  • Keep an eye on news articles, research publications, or alerts related to Rabies. Subscribe to newsletters from health organizations or government agencies to receive relevant updates on the disease in the United Kingdom.

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