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Rabies is an infectious viral disease that is almost always fatal following the onset of clinical signs. Because this disease impacts both animals and humans, the veterinary and human medical profession need to work together to combat this still avoidable disease which is still so prevalent in Africa and some Asian countries.  

And working together to raise awareness about and eradicate this disease is what World Rabies Day is all about!

History of World Rabies Day

World Rabies Day was founded by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control in 2007 and it was then recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO). The day is celebrated annually to raise awareness about rabies prevention and to highlight progress in defeating this horrifying disease.

September 28th was chosen as the day to observe World Rabies Day each year as it marks the anniversary of the death of Louis Pasteur, who was the French chemist and microbiologist, who developed the first rabies vaccine.

Each year, the Global Alliance for Rabies Control chooses a theme to celebrate World Rabies Day. The different themes are chosen to bring to light a certain aspect of the disease and how to eradicate it. Some interesting themes from the past have included:

  • Educate. Vaccinate. Eliminate. (2016)
  • End Rabies: Collaborate and Vaccinate (2020)
  • Rabies: One Health. Zero Deaths (2022)
  • Rabies: All for 1, One Health for All (2023)

How to Celebrate World Rabies Day

A wide range of people from all over the world can join together in the common theme of getting rid of this deadly but avoidable disease for good. Join in on the important celebrations and observance of World Rabies Day with some of these ideas:

Host a World Rabies Day Event

One of the ways that World Rabies Day can be observed is to host an event that will help to raise awareness (and perhaps also raise funds) that will offer support and aid in eradicating rabies. Schools, universities, community centers, local governments, animal shelters, medical centers and so many others can take the opportunity to educate people on the importance of vaccinations and protection against rabies.

Learn Important Facts About Rabies

Getting educated and sharing information is a vital part of rabies control and prevention. Learn and share some of these facts for World Rabies Day:

  • Rabies is completely preventable through vaccine.

  • Once clinical symptoms appear, there is no cure and the disease is likely fatal.

  • Domestic dogs are 99% responsible for rabies transmission to humans.

  • Rabies is one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases.

Visit the Rabies Alliance Website

Folks who are hosting events can register theirs on the Global Alliance for Rabies Control website so that others in the area can find it. The website also offers tools, information about the annual theme, and other resources to help in celebrating World Rabies Day. 

Those who are not hosting an event but are interested in attending one can visit the website to find out more about where these registered events will be held.

Make a Donation for Rabies Control

An excellent way to show support in honor of World Rabies Day might be to make a donation to a charitable organization that is working diligently to eradicate this horrible disease. The Global Alliance for Rabies Control might be a good place to start for those who want to make sure their donation will get to the places in the world where it is needed most. The mission statement of this organization is: working to eliminate human deaths from dog rabies by 2030.

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