Monday, October 3, 2016

Rabies Awareness

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 99% of human rabies cases are transmitted by the bite of infected dogs and that the infection causes tens of thousands of deaths every year, mostly in Africa and Asia.

Four out of every 10 deaths from rabies are in children aged under 15 years.
Although immediate wound cleansing with soap and water after contact with a suspected rabid animal can be life-saving, it is crucial also that people living in at-risk and endemic areas access prompt wound management and vaccines.

World Rabies Day, WHO
Source: WHO

World Rabies Day is celebrated annually to raise awareness about rabies prevention and to highlight progress in defeating this horrifying disease. 28 September also marks the anniversary of Louis Pasteur's death, the French chemist and microbiologist, who developed the first rabies vaccine.

Today, safe and efficacious animal and human vaccines are among the important tools that exist to eliminate human deaths from rabies while awareness is the key driver for success of communities to engage in effective rabies prevention.

The theme for 2016 is Rabies: EducateVaccinateEliminate. which emphasizes the two crucial actions that communities can do to prevent rabies. It also reflects the global target to eliminate all human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030.



Rabies, WHO
Source: WHO


Rabies is 100% preventable. In the U.S. and many European countries, a dog bite rarely leads to death. But in many countries, even a superficial dog bite or scratch can lead to a disease that is nearly 100% fatal once symptoms manifest.

Rabies is one of the world’s oldest diseases, but remains a daily threat to millions around the world.


World Rabies Day, WHO
Source: WHO


Key Facts


  • Rabies is a vaccine-preventable viral disease which occurs in more than 150 countries and territories.
  • Dogs are the source of the vast majority of human rabies deaths, contributing up to 99% of all rabies transmissions to humans.
  • Rabies elimination is feasible by vaccinating dogs.
  • Infection causes tens of thousands of deaths every year, mostly in Asia and Africa.
  • 40% of people who are bitten by suspect rabid animals are children under 15 years of age.
  • Immediate wound cleansing with soap and water after contact with a suspect rabid animal can be life-saving.
  • Every year, more than 15 million people worldwide receive a post-bite vaccination. This is estimated to prevent hundreds of thousands of rabies deaths annually.



Rabies, Infographic, CDC
Source: CDC


What is Rabies?


Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that is spread in the saliva of infected animals. All mammals can get rabies. People usually get rabies from licks, bites, or scratches from infected dogs and other animals such as bats, foxes, raccoons, and mongooses. 

Rabies affects the central nervous system, ultimately causing brain disease and death. Once symptoms of rabies appear, the disease is nearly always fatal, so prevention is especially important.

Rabies is an infectious viral disease that is almost always fatal following the onset of clinical signs. In up to 99% of human cases, the rabies virus is transmitted by domestic dogs. Rabies affects domestic and wild animals, and is spread to people through bites or scratches, usually via saliva.

Rabies is present on all continents with the exception of Antarctica, but more than 95% of human deaths occur in Asia and Africa. 

Rabies is a neglected disease of poor and vulnerable populations whose deaths are rarely reported and where human vaccines and immunoglobulin are not readily available or accessible. It occurs mainly in remote rural communities where children between the age of 5–14 years are frequent victims. 

The average cost of rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can be the cost of catastrophic expenses for poor populations, since a course of PEP can cost US$ 40 in Africa and US$ 49 in Asia, where the average daily income is about US$ 1–2 per person.


Prevention


Eliminating rabies in dogs

Rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease. Vaccinating dogs is the most cost-effective strategy for preventing rabies in people. Dog vaccination will drive down not only the deaths attributable to rabies but also the need for PEP as a part of dog bite patient care.

Preventive immunization in people

The same safe and effective vaccines can be used for pre-exposure immunization. This is recommended for travellers spending a lot of time outdoors, especially in rural areas, involved in activities such as bicycling, camping, or hiking as well as for long-term travellers and expatriates living in areas with a significant risk of exposure to dog bites.

Pre-exposure immunization is also recommended for people in certain high-risk occupations such as laboratory workers dealing with live rabies virus and other rabies-related viruses (
lyssaviruses), and people involved in any activities that might bring them professionally or otherwise into direct contact with bats, carnivores, and other mammals in rabies-affected areas. As children are considered at higher risk because they tend to play with animals, may receive more severe bites, or may not report bites, their immunization could be considered if living in or visiting high-risk areas.



Rabies, Animated gif, WHO
Source: WHO


Rabies, Animated gif, WHO
Source: WHO


Rabies, Animated gif, WHO
Source: WHO

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