Many people think of rabies as a very rare disease primarily associated with wildlife, however canine rabies kills tens of thousand of people each year, making it a leading cause of infectious disease deaths in some areas. China is an example of such a region, and rabies is a serious problem throughout much of the country. For example, last month 33 people died of rabies in Guangdong province, according to the the Provincial Health Bureau. That means that there were more deaths from rabies than tuberculosis in the region (there were 80 deaths from AIDS, 33 from rabies and 14 from TB).
The frustrating part is that the vast majority of rabies infections can be prevented with basic medical care, consisting of timely administration of rabies post-exposure prophylaxis, and vaccination of both feral and pet dogs.