World Rabies Day : 28 September is celebrated annually to raise awareness about rabies prevention and to highlight progress in defeating this horrifying disease. 28 September also marks the anniversary of Louis Pasteur’s death, the French chemist and microbiologist, who developed the first rabies vaccine.

Today, safe and efficacious animal and human vaccines are among the important tools that exist to eliminate human deaths from rabies while awareness is the key driver for success of communities to engage in effective rabies prevention.

World Rabies Day 2017 marks the announcement of the biggest global anti-rabies initiative. Today, the World Health Organization, the World Organisation for Animal Health, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control will reveal an ambitious plan to end human deaths from dog-transmitted rabies by 2030.

World Rabies Day

Rabies remains a significant health problem in many countries of the world. Over 99% of all human deaths caused by rabid dog bites happen in the developing world, with 95% of deaths occurring in Africa and Asia. With the exception of Antarctica, people and animals on every continent are at risk of contracting rabies.

One major problem with rabies prevention is a lack of basic life-saving knowledge among people at risk. Organizations working on the issue can often feel isolated, and, as a neglected disease, rabies does not attract sufficient resources, even though the world has the tools and knowledge to prevent rabies and nobody needs to die from this disease.

World Rabies Day

The first World Rabies Day campaign took place in September 2007 as a partnership between the Global Alliance for Rabies Control and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA, with the co-sponsorship of the World Health Organization, the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Pan American Health Organization. In 2009, after three World Rabies Days, the Global Alliance for Rabies Control estimated that rabies prevention and awareness events had taken place in over 100 countries, that nearly 100 million people worldwide had been educated about rabies and that nearly 3 million dogs had been vaccinated during events linked to the campaign.

A 2011 review by a network of international government agencies, academics, NGOs and vaccine manufacturers identified World Rabies Day as a useful tool to assist with rabies prevention, targeting at-risk communities, animal health workers, public health practitioners, governments, key opinion leaders and experts.

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