Do you know what the deadliest disease on earth is? Think about it for a second and see if you can come up with the answer. It may not be what you expect.
It has a 99.9% fatality rate.
It causes severe neurological discomfort and disease in the brain.
5.5 billion people live at a daily risk of getting it.
So, what is this insane disease?
That’s right. This 100% avoidable, preventable disease kills nearly 100% of people who contract it. One bite from a rabid dog could end a life.
Rabies affects people around the world, found on every continent but Antarctica. So to retaliate, many major health organizations bonded together with a common mission. That goal is to eliminate death by rabies by 2030.
It starts with a day — World Rabies Day, a global effort started in 2007. Why should you care?
The Impact of Rabies Worldwide
The rabies disease has a wide reach. It gets found on all but one continent. Places like Africa, Asia, and the Middle East are the most affected by this fatal issue.
How is it spread so far? On four legs. Over 90% of rabies is canine rabies.
Areas with large stray dog populations are where rabies cultivates. And since it’s a zoonotic disease, it is easily transferred from animals to humans. This can be a bite, a scratch, contact with saliva.
Although the problem is worldwide, it thrives in Asia and Africa. Of the 59,000 deaths per year, 95% of them are in one of these two places. The rabid dog population is higher, and rabies correlates.
The United States is lucky to say that only 1-3 deaths per year are because of rabies. In these cases, the patients didn’t likely know they were facing exposure to it and hadn’t had a rabies shot.
Rabies can kill humans as well as other animals. And as of now, no cure exists for this viral disease.
And if you can’t cure it, what’s the next best thing we can try? Prevention is a close second-best – ensure your pets have their rabies shot. Done by pet owners, advocates, and healthcare professionals worldwide. And so World Rabies Day was born eleven years ago.
The History of World Rabies Day
September 28, 2007, is the birthday of this awareness holiday. That means you have a few weeks left to spread the word, attend events, raise awareness and make sure your pets and friends pets are up to date with their rabies shot. It was started and is still run by GARC – the Global Alliance for Rabies Control.
The importance of this day is in the fact that it exists at all. Rabies is still a worldwide problem, killing thousands a day. The fight against rabies is nowhere near over.
Large health organizations support the holiday, which advocates for awareness and prevention. It gets observed in many countries. Its most important goal is to effectively end rabies deaths by the year 2030.
(Search the hashtag #zeroby30 to be a part of the conversation.)
The weeks leading up to World Rabies Day are full of fundraising opportunities and awareness events. It’s a common thing to see “Free Vaccine” days, allowing for pet owners to vaccinate their dogs free of charge.
This year’s theme is appropriate for the mission. “Rabies: Share the message. Save a life.” Sometimes, prevention is as simple as sharing a message and spreading knowledge.
What Can You Do? Make Sure Your Pets Have An Up To Date Rabies Shot To Start!
If rabies is a preventable disease, what efforts can you take to prevent it?
Attending World Rabies Day events is a great way to start. Here are more effective ways of avoiding it:
- Make sure all pets (cats and dogs) older than four months old have their rabies shot
- Don’t allow pets to roam without supervision
- Keep pets, and yourself, away from stray dogs and cats
- Leave any wild animals alone – and make your home hard to penetrate
No matter how cute that stray cat or dog might be, you should take utmost caution when dealing with them. Since roaming strays are more likely to be rabid, chances are high you could get bit.
In the case of wild animals being in your home or near where you are, calling animal control is always a safe bet.
And since almost all rabies cases get spread by dog bites, there is one answer that’s better than others. Vaccination is the best way to prevent the spread of this viral, fatal problem. If you or a loved one owns a dog, it’s necessary to give them proper vaccines.
Rabies vaccines need boosters – anywhere from 6 months to a couple years after the initial dose. Many pet-care industries invest in software that reminds owners when their pet needs boosters. This is especially important if you take your animal to groomers, parks, and public places.
It’s Worth a Shot
It’s a sad fact that rabies is such a fatal disease. But the silver lining is that prevention is very easy. It’s as easy as a quick shot.
If you want a pet, this should be step #2. Give them a name first, and then get Cali, Rocky, or Rosco on the table and vaccinated.
If this issue is something that matters to you, now is the perfect time to start participating. With World Rabies Day only weeks away, social media is bound to be filling up with event pages. And if you want to avoid the FOMO while also making an impact in the world, here’s one way to do it.
Rabies is deadly and avoidable. Do your bark – oops – do your part to protect humans and animals everywhere.
Interested in more information with the potential to save lives? Check out our pet blog!
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