bdtonline.com - More than 55,000 people die from rabies worldwide every year, a rate of one person every 10 minutes. This is an astonishing number, especially because rabies in humans in 100 per cent preventable.
World Rabies Day was created in 2006 by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control. The Alliance consisted of researchers and professionals involved with human and animal healthcare, including Dr. Leon Russell, professor in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
Russell explained that the goal of World Rabies Day is to reduce the amount of rabies cases throughout the world by ensuring adequate animal vaccination and control, educating people who may be at risk and increasing access to appropriate medical care for those bitten by rabies infected animals.
While there are various strains of rabies, dogs are the primary source for transmission to humans across the globe. However, the canine rabies virus strain has been eradicated in the United States because of proper and complete vaccination procedures.
Russell said. “Rabies is completely preventable. We want people to understand the importance of vaccinating against the disease. But while canine rabies has been eliminated, there are still threats to humans and pets in the United States, so people, particularly pet owners need to take precautions.”
Dogs and cats contract rabies primarily from skunks, raccoons and bats in the United States. These canine and feline pets serve as “bridge animals” or carriers of rabies between wildlife hosts and people. Russell explained that if you suspect your dog or cat has been exposed to a rabid animal, you should take your pet to a veterinarian immediately.
While Russell says that it is good to be aware of potentially rabid bats, skunks and raccoons, nothing is as effective in preventing rabies as vaccination of your canine and feline pets.
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Image via World Rabies Day/Facebook