World Rabies Day 2020
The 28th of September is the World Rabies Day, which also marks the death of the French chemist and microbiologist, Louis Pasteur, who developed the first rabies vaccine (1). It is a global health observance that started back in 2007 to raise awareness about rabies and encourage collaboration to enhance prevention and control efforts worldwide (2). The theme for World Rabies Day this year is “End Rabies: Collaborate, Vaccinate” (2). Rabies is a vaccine-preventable viral disease which occurs in more than 150 countries; however, more than 59,000 people die from the disease around the world each year (2). Dogs are considered the main source of human rabies deaths, contributing up to 99% of all rabies transmissions to humans (3). Around 40% of people bitten by suspect rabid animals are children under 15 years of age (3). Initial symptoms of rabies include a fever with pain and unexplained tingling or burning sensation at the wound site (3). Progressive and fatal inflammation of the brain and spinal cord develops as the virus spreads to the central nervous system (3). Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) measures are very crucial as they are the immediate treatment of a bite victim after rabies exposure (3). It prevents virus entry into the central nervous system, which results in imminent death (3).
- World Health Organization. “World Rabies Day”. https://www.who.int/rabies/WRD_landing_page/en/. Accessed 28 Sept 2020.
- CDC. “World Rabies Day”. https://www.cdc.gov/worldrabiesday/index.html. Accessed 28 Sept 2020.
- World Health Organization. “Rabies”.https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/rabies. Accessed 28 Sept 2020.