World Rabies Day: Awareness is the Best Defense against Rabies

The world joins together for World Rabies Day on September 28th to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of rabies prevention. 

Rabies is the oldest and deadliest disease known to mankind, and Animal Friends is supporting this initiative.

Led by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control and supported by numerous human and animal health organizations worldwide, World Rabies Day is a unique campaign that brings together hundreds of thousands of people across the world.

Included in those people are the secondary students who participate in Animal Friends’ annual World Rabies Day videoconference to learn about rabies, both domestically and internationally.

In 2013, students from the Parkway West Career and Technical Center (Oakdale, Pennsylvania); Beaver County Career and Technical Center (Monaca, Pennsylvania); Lindsay Holy Family School (Lindsay, Nebraska) and National Dali School (Dali City, Taichung, Taiwan) took part in the event, titled “Rabies: Understand It to Delete It.” The students asked questions of the guest speakers: Dr. Erin Moore, DVM, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Heath, and Dr. Louise Taylor of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control.

“It was interesting to hear from students in Taiwan about how their country is currently fighting their first rabies cases in 50 years,” said Dana Schultz, Education Coordinator at Animal Friends.


Rabies and Children

The aim of World Rabies Day is to spread the word that rabies is a preventable disease that still kills 55,000 people needlessly each year, half of which are children under the age of 151.

“Rabies is primarily a disease of children, who are particularly at risk from this terrible disease, due to their close contact with dogs, the major global source,” said Dr. Debbie Briggs, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control. 

“Children are more likely to suffer multiple bites and scratches to the face and head, both of which carry a higher risk of contracting rabies. Children are often unaware of the danger that dogs transmit rabies and may not tell their parents when a bite, lick, or scratch has occurred from an infected animal,” said Dr. Briggs.

Rabies is Preventable

Rabies is a viral disease that can be transmitted to animals and humans. The disease is usually transmitted by a bite, but exposure may also occur through contamination of broken skin or mucous membranes with saliva from an infected animal.

Once neurological symptoms of the disease develop, rabies is fatal to both animals and humans. The good news is that rabies is easily preventable. 

“Vaccination prior to possible exposure is a crucial part of health management of domestic animals, and is the single most important factor in rabies prevention,” said Dr. Briggs.

Animal Friends is pleased to offer periodic low-cost rabies vaccination clinics to the public.

Rabies prevention starts with the animal owner. Protect yourself, your pet and your community by taking animals to be vaccinated. Avoid stray animals and wildlife. 

If you are bitten, wash bite wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. 

If your pet is bitten, consult your veterinarian immediately. Prompt and appropriate treatment after being bitten and before the disease develops can stop rabies infection and/or prevent the disease in humans and animals.

The World Rabies Day initiative also raises money for rabies prevention and control projects. 

“Through the World Rabies Day campaign we continue to engage all the major stakeholders associated with rabies to take action,” said Dr. Briggs.  “We invite everyone to join the team that is Making Rabies History!” 

More information about World Rabies Day can be found at

More information about the videoconference can be found at

More information about the low-cost rabies clinics can be found at

 1 WHO.  Human and Animal Rabies, Rabies: A neglected zoonotic disease.  Available at:  Accessed on July 23, 2008.

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