World Rabies Day 2021: World Rabies Day is observed on September 28 every year to raise awareness about the impact of the viral disease and how to prevent it.
- This day is also observed globally to mark the death anniversary of French biologist, microbiologist and chemist, Louis Pasteur, who developed the first rabies vaccine.
- This is the only global day of action and awareness for rabies prevention.
- The year 2021 is the 15th edition of World Rabies Day.
Theme of World Rabies Day 2021:
- This year’s theme for World Rabies day is: “Rabies: Facts, not Fear”.
- This theme is based on ending the fear from the people and empowering them with the facts.
- It is focused on sharing facts about rabies, and not spreading fear about the disease by relying on misinformation and myths.
- For the first time, World Rabies Day was celebrated on September 28 in 2007.
- The event was collaboration between Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), USA together with the World Health Organization (WHO).
- The two organizations started this day after the world suffered from the adverse effects of Rabies.
Significance of World Rabies Day
- World Rabies Day is observed every year to raise awareness about the impact of rabies on humans and animals, provide information and advice on how to prevent the disease in at-risk communities and support advocacy for increased efforts in rabies control.
- It is an important day for the world to acknowledge the terror in people of the disease.
- The day focuses on better care for animals and spreading knowledge on tackling an adverse situation like rabies.
- Rabies is a deadly zoonotic disease which is usually transmitted through an animal bite, for example, from stray dogs or other mammmals.
- Other sources of rabies in humans include bats, monkeys, raccoons, foxes, skunks, cattle, wolves, coyotes, cats, and mongooses (normally either the small Asian mongoose or the yellow mongoose).
- The rabies virus infects the central nervous system of mammals, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death.
- The initial symptoms are:-
- Headache which is similar to that of flu
- Abnormal behaviour
- Hallucinatins when the disease progresses.
- There is no specific treatment for rabies.
- Once symptoms appear, it’s nearly always fatal.
- However, Rabies is a 100% preventable viral disease.
- A vaccine can prevent infection.
Effect of Rabies Worldwide:
- Rabies causes about 56,000 deaths worldwide per year, about 40% of which are in children under the age of 15.
- More than 95% of human deaths from rabies occur in Africa and Asia.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Communicable Disease Surveillance 2007 Annual Report states the following can help reduce the risk of contracting rabies.
- Vaccinating dogs, cats, and ferrets against rabies.
- Keeping pets under supervision.
- Not handling wild animals or strays.
- Contacting an animal control officer upon observing a wild animal or a stray, especially if the animal is acting strangely.
- If bitten by an animal, washing the wound with soap and water for 10 to 15 minutes and contacting a healthcare provider to determine if post-exposure prophylaxis is required
- The name rabies is derived from the Latin rabies, “madness”.
- This, in turn, may be related to the Sanskrit rabhas, “to rage”.
- The Greeks derived the word lyssa, from lud or “violent”; this root is used in the genus name of the rabies virus, Lyssavirus.
- The Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) is a leading non-profit organization that works with governments, veterinary, public health and educational experts, and communities to eliminate rabies in areas hardest hit by the disease. GARC’s mission is to eliminate human deaths from rabies and relieve the burden of rabies in animal populations, especially dogs.
- GARC was founded in 2007.
- It is headquartered in Manhattan, Kansas, United States.
- The current Global Alliance for Rabies Executive Director is Louis Nel.