All you need to know about World Rabies Day

What is World Rabies Day?

World Rabies Day is an international awareness campaign which the Global Alliance for Rabies Control conducts. It is a non-profit organization with headquarters in the United States. Various international human and veterinary health organizations like World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed it.

When do people celebrate this day?

World Rabies Day takes place every year on the 28th of September. It is the death anniversary of Louis Pasteur who, with the help of his colleagues, first developed the effective rabies vaccine. The aim of World Rabies Day is to raise awareness about the impact of rabies on humans and animals. It also aims to provide information and advice on how to prevent the disease in at-risk communities. It also supports advocacy for increased efforts in rabies control.

History of World Rabies Day

The first campaign of World Rabies Day took place on 8th September 2007. It took place as a partnership between the Alliance for Rabies Control and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA. The health organizations mentioned earlier co-sponsored it. In 2009, after three campaigns, the Global Alliance for Rabies Control estimated that rabies prevention and awareness events took place in over 100 countries. It also came to the conclusion that nearly 100 million people worldwide were educated about rabies. Also, veterinarians gave vaccines to nearly 3 million dogs during the events linked to the campaign. In the years following the review, governments and international agencies used this day to announce policies, plans, and progress on rabies elimination.

Why did people create this day?

World Rabies Day was created to be an exclusive day of education, awareness, and action. People did this to encourage groups from all levels both local and international, to increase the spread of rabies prevention messages. Some of its objectives are raising global awareness about rabies, how to stop the disease, and educating people in rabies-endemic countries to prevent rabies.

Causes of rabies

Rabies virus causes rabies infection. This virus spreads through the saliva of infected animals. Infected animals can spread the virus by biting another animal or person. In rare cases, rabies can be spread if infected saliva gets into an open wound or the mucous membranes such as the eyes or mouth. This can occur if an infected animal licks a person’s open wound. Any mammal can transmit the rabies virus. The animals include cats, dogs, cows, ferrets, horses, goats, bats, beavers, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, monkeys, woodchucks, and skunks. In rare cases, the virus can also transmit to tissue and organ transplant recipients from an infected organ.

Rabies treatment

If a rabies-infected animal bites a person, at first, he or she should wash the wound gently with soap and generous amounts of water. This may help wash the virus away. If the infection is once established, there is no effective treatment. It usually causes death. For if a person thinks that he or she has been exposed to rabies, they must get a series of shots to prevent the infection from taking hold. Rabies shots include a fast-acting shot (rabies immune globulin) to prevent the virus from infecting the person. Part of this injection is given near the area which has been bit. Then there are a series of rabies vaccinations to help the body learn and fight the virus. They are given as injections in the arm. There are a series of 4 injections in a span of 14 days.

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