FCVC knows that in the United States, rabies is not the threat that it is in the rest of the world.
However, rabies remains a major concern worldwide, killing more than 55,000 people every year. In the United States, one to two people die annually, and there were more than 6,000 reported cases of animal rabies in the U.S. in 2012.
World Rabies Day
What YOU can do: Vaccinate your animals and keep them away from wildlife that can spread the disease. This disease is 100% preventable. According to Dr. Charles Rupprecht, chief of the rabies program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Your local veterinarian plays a key role in controlling rabies.”
We can help keep the threat from re-occurring and we can help eliminate it in the rest of the world. Being informed is an excellent start. We support World Rabies Day 2020 and we bring you this educational article on the subject from our friends at EndRabiesNow.org:
Rabies kills someone
every 9 minutes.
That’s 59,000 people every year.
Our work isn’t done yet.
It’s 100% preventable. In the U.S. and many European countries, a dog bite rarely leads to death. But in many countries, even a superficial dog bite or scratch can lead to a disease that is nearly 100% fatal once symptoms manifest.
This is one of the world’s oldest diseases, but remains a daily threat to millions around the world.
It doesn’t have to be this way. That is what World Rabies Day 2020 is all about.
Over 120 countries are still affected by canine rabies.
It is a disease of poverty and mainly affects people living in marginalized societies. Over 95% of the 59,000 human rabies deaths each year occur in Africa and Asia as a result of being bitten by an infected dog. And around half of all dog bites and rabies deaths occur in children under 15 years of age.
An ancient disease first documented in Babylon, 2300 B.C., rabies has one of the highest fatality rates of all infectious diseases. Once an individual shows symptoms, it is considered to be 99.9% fatal.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, in the United States and many countries in Europe, effective policies and funding have led to the complete elimination. But elimination in these countries has also led to a lack of prioritization for funding and support to eliminate the disease across the world.
Why it’s still a threat
Canine rabies is a forgotten disease of the poor, where nobody survives to tell the tale. The lack of disease diagnosis and reporting prevents rabies becoming a higher priority disease.
Only 54% of survey respondents in urban slums in India knew that it is a deadly disease. Only 30% of Ethiopian respondents believed that immediate care of bites was important in preventing the disease. A key factor in preventing the spread in endemic countries is education.
Post-bite vaccines are not always available to bite victims in resource-poor regions where they are most needed. The average cost of post-exposure treatment in Africa is around $40, and in Asia it’s $49. Given that the average daily income in these countries is $1-$2, that expense can be nearly impossible for families to cover.
Prevention methods fall short.
Vaccinating at least 70% of dogs can eliminate human rabies deaths, and low immunization results (50%) can still provide a reasonable chance to control the disease. Inhumane mass killing of dogs, though widely prevalent, does nothing to halt the spread of rabies, and can even worsen the problem.
With commitment and funding from donors, local governments, countries and institutions we can end human deaths from canine rabies by 2030.
A number of countries have committed to ending human deaths from canine rabies, including Kenya by 2030, the first country in Africa to do so. The ASEAN countries have committed to elimination of dog-transmitted rabies deaths by 2020. In the Americas, several countries have already succeeded in eliminating canine rabies deaths under the Pan American Health Organization’s region wide program, and only 7 out of 35 countries still report human cases. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals include the aim to end the epidemics of neglected tropical diseases by 2030. The world has the tools it needs to End Rabies Now. It is time for the international community to come together to help rabies-endemic countries to end deaths due to canine rabies once and for all.
The World Has The Tools To End Rabies
By vaccinating 70% of dogs, countries can create “herd immunity”, effectively slowing the spread until it dies out entirely.
Rabies and One HealthThe One Health approach recognizes that human and animal health are connected, and that collaborative cross-sector efforts are needed to end zoonotic diseases, which are transmitted from animals to humans.
Elimination plans must include human and animal government agencies, veterinary and human health professionals, educators, scientists and community groups.
The Canine Rabies Blueprint’s Stepwise Approach towards Rabies Elimination is a roadmap for countries to help them develop plans and measure progress toward achieving prevention, control and elimination. It integrates One Health principles to help countries become disease-free.
How to Eliminate Rabies
You can sign up for the pledge by clicking here.
FCVC hopes that you found this article engaging and enlightening. Need to know if your pet’s vaccinations are up to date? Give us a call at 970-587-5140.
Articles you may find interesting from this month – 7 Ways to Celebrate Your Dog During National Dog Week and September is Animal Pain Awareness Month and September is Responsible Dog Ownership Month