This Sunday, September 28th, is World Rabies Day. The goal of this day its to raise awareness about rabies, a disease that still kills thousands of people and animals in many parts of the world every year. While human rabies is thankfully rare in most developed countries, it is a major health concern in many other regions. Even in countries such as Canada and the US, where human cases are uncommon, diligent vigilance is required, because rabies continues to be present in wildlife, and therefore people and pets can still be exposed to this deadly disease.
A key part of rabies prevention, which is also a major focus of rabies education programs, is the need for vaccination of pets, even strictly indoor pets. Rabies vaccination is a cheap and effective way of protecting your pet, yourself and your family from this disease. It’s also required by law in many areas. The implications of rabies exposure of pets that are not properly vaccinated can be severe, possibly including euthanasia or very long quarantine, even if they are not infected.
Many groups are holding events to increase awareness about rabies, such as the People and Pets Walk to End Rabies which is being held by the University of Guelph. Information from an advertisement for this event states "Although rabies does not seem like an issue at home, it is a major health problem for both humans and animals in developing countries, claiming the life of one person every ten minutes. If we work together, we can make a difference. Please show your support and join us at the walk to help make rabies history!" That statement should make it clear why we talk about rabies so much. One human death every 10 minutes is a startling figure for a disease which we should be able to control.
More information about rabies is available on the Worms & Germs Resources page.