The human death toll of 59,000 people a yeari only tells a fraction of the story. Countless animals also succumb to the virus’s terrifying clinical symptoms before inevitable death.
And that still isn’t the whole story. 99% of human fatalities are people infected by a rabid dog, with 95% of these deaths occurring in Asia and Africa. This creates a fear of dogs and millions of animals are killed, often inhumanely, in misguided attempts to prevent transmission to people. World experts agree that dog culling is ineffective at preventing human rabiesii.
On the contrary, it is dog vaccination that stops the disease at its source and saves the lives of all animals, including humans. Canine vaccination and associated education and awareness programmes can also positively transform the relationship between dogs and people.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals and organisations working to stop rabies, many of them in the field of animal welfare, but they often work in isolation. When World Rabies Day was launched in 2007, it was the first opportunity for these groups to unite on a neutral platform, speak with a common voice and share their knowledge and experience with others in the global rabies community. Over the years hundreds of organisations have registered events on the World Rabies Day platform and used the downloadable event resources to support their work – register your event and download resources (including customisable posters) at rabiesalliance.org/world-rabies-day.
As the 10th World Rabies Day approaches, it is the perfect opportunity to recognise outstanding individuals and organisations in the field of community rabies prevention, and nominations are now welcomed for the first World Rabies Day MSD Awards.
There are eight awards of US$1200 for individuals and organisations, covering four regions. Nominees need to be making an active contribution to rabies prevention in the region in which they are based. A full list of entry criteria and an online nomination are available at rabiesalliance.org/awards - please note that nominations close on 4th September, 2016.
The global elimination of rabies relies on the individuals and organisations working in their corner of the world to end rabies in their communities. If you know someone who deserves recognition for their work, please nominate them today.
i Hampson K, Coudeville L, Lembo T, Sambo M, Kieffer A, Attlan M, Barrat J, Blanton JD, Briggs DJ, Cleaveland S, et al. Estimating the global burden of endemic canine rabies. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2015, 9:e0003709.
ii WHO. WHO Expert Consultation on Rabies, Second report. In WHO Technical Report Series 982. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2013.