World Rabies Day: Awareness is the Best Defense against Rabies

 

The world is again joining together on September 28th to
raise awareness and understanding about the importance of rabies prevention. Rabies is the oldest and deadliest disease
known to mankind and Masters Services is supporting this initiative.

 

Led by the Alliance for Rabies Control and supported by numerous human and animal health
organizations worldwide, World Rabies Day is a unique campaign that brings
together hundreds of thousands of people across the world to reinforce the
message that rabies is a preventable disease, yet kills 55,000 people needlessly
each year, half of which are children under the age of 151.

 

“Rabies is primarily a disease of children, who are particularly at
risk from this terrible disease, due to their close contact with dogs, the major
global source”, said Dr. Debbie Briggs, Executive Director of the Alliance for
Rabies Control. “Children are more
likely to suffer multiple bites and scratches to the face and head, both of
which carry a higher risk of contracting rabies. Children are often
unaware of the danger that dogs transmit rabies and may not tell their parents
when a bite, lick, or scratch has occurred from an infected animal”, says
Briggs.

 

Rabies is a viral disease that can be transmitted to animals and
humans. The disease is transmitted
mainly by bite, but exposure may also occur through contamination of broken
skin or mucous membranes with saliva from an infected animal. Once
neurological symptoms of the disease develop, rabies is fatal to both animals
and humans. The good news is that rabies
is easily preventable. “Vaccination
prior to possible exposure is a crucial part of health management of domestic
animals, and is the single most important factor in rabies prevention”, said
Peter Costa, Global Communications Coordinator for the Alliance for Rabies
Control.

 

Rabies prevention starts with the animal owner. Protect yourself, your pet and your community
by taking animals to be vaccinated.
Avoid stray animals and wildlife.
If you are bitten, wash bite wounds with soap and water and seek medical
attention immediately. If your pet is
bitten, consult your veterinarian immediately.
Prompt and appropriate treatment after being bitten and before the
disease develops can stop rabies infection and/or prevent the disease in humans
and animals.

 

The World Rabies Day initiative also raises money towards local rabies
prevention and control programs, with eight projects funded since 2008. “Through the World Rabies Day campaign we
continue to engage all the major stakeholders associated with rabies to take
action”, says Costa. “We invite everyone
to join the team that is Making Rabies History!”

 

More information on World Rabies Day can be found at the official web
site, www.rabiesalliance.org/world-rabies-day.

 

References:

1 WHO. Human and Animal Rabies, Rabies: A neglected zoonotic disease. Available at: http://www.who.int/rabies/en/. Accessed on July 23, 2008.