September 28 is World Rabies Day, and the AVMA encourages veterinarians to use this opportunity to remind pet owners and the general public to stay vigilant and proactive in rabies prevention.
Created in 2007 by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, World Rabies Day aims to raise community awareness of the disease and its prevention around the globe. The theme of this year’s World Rabies Day is Zero by 30—with the goal of reaching zero human deaths from canine rabies by the year 2030.
Though rabies is not a widespread concern in the United States due to the prevalence of rabies vaccinations, the disease kills tens of thousands of people around the world each year.
“Rabies is a fatal disease that is 100 percent preventable,” said Dr. Mike Topper, President of the AVMA. “We have been very successful at keeping rabies at bay in the United States, but it’s important that the public not become complacent. Pets must continue to be vaccinated against the disease and all pets and people should avoid coming into contact with wild or stray animals.”
In 2015, the number of rabid animals reported in the United States totaled 5,508, which constituted an 8.7 percent decrease from the year before. For the first time since rabies surveillance began, bats were the most frequently reported rabid animal in the U.S. Raccoons, skunks and foxes made up a large majority of the rest of the rabies cases.
What can you do to spread the word?
The AVMA has a variety of resources and ready-to-use materials for you to utilize in your observance of World Rabies Day.You can easily distribute rabies information for pet owners through our rabies brochure for veterinary clinics, rabies research podcast and informational rabies web page. Other ways you can participate in World Rabies Day include sharing dog bite prevention information or learning more about rabies vaccination and titers for veterinarians. In addition, don’t forget to spread rabies prevention information on your professional social media with the hashtag #WorldRabiesDay.
For more information about rabies prevention and observing World Rabies Day, visit the AVMA World Rabies Day page.