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World Rabies Day Focuses on Infected Bats

September 28, 2021 • 3:29 pm CDT
(Vax Before Travel)

The World Rabies Day (WRD), established by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) and recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), is celebrated every September 28th to remind that preventing animal rabies does protect not only animal health but also the health of humans and the environment.

On September 28, 1895, the French scientist Louis Pasteur who created the rabies vaccine, passed away.

In this regard, the theme chosen for the WRD 2021 is "Rabies: facts, not fear."

This theme highlights the importance of raising awareness of the disease, vaccinating the animal population, and educating people on the danger of rabies and how to prevent it.

The Pan American Center for Foot-and-Mouth Disease and Veterinary Public Health of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is responsible for the "Regional Program for the Elimination of Human Rabies Transmitted by Dogs" from 1983.

Since then, the incidence of the disease in the Americas has been reduced by around 98%.

From the past years, nearly all human cases have been mainly transmitted by wild animals, particularly hematophagous bats.

To achieve rabies elimination in the American continent, the countries' commitment and long-term national programs for rabies control are necessary. 

Mr. Ottorino Cosivi, director of PANAFTOSA, stated in a press release, "The results attained in the past 38 years allow us to state that we are very close to attaining the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies (variants 1 and 2) in the American continent."

Due to its fatal nature and the lack of a cure, rabies is a public health risk.

At the international level, 60,000 people die every year from this disease, mainly in Asia and Africa.

Rabies vaccines can be used to prevent rabies before and for a period of time after exposure to the rabies virus, says the U.S. CDC.

Unlike the conventional, inactivated rabies vaccine, live-attenuated viruses are genetically modified viruses that can replicate in an inoculated recipient without causing adverse effects while still eliciting robust and effective immune responses against rabies virus infection.

Note: Beginning July 14, 2021, a temporary suspension was launched for dogs imported from high-risk countries for dog rabies. The CDC has the authority to issue a CDC Dog Import Permit for U.S. citizens and lawful residents relocating from high-risk countries to bring their dogs into the United States. After October 14, 2021, dogs coming from high-risk countries with CDC Dog Import Permits must enter only at approved ports of entry.