World Rabies Day 2021: Key Events, History, Background and Reason for Observance on Sept 28, Get Details Here

Know all about World Rabies Day 2021: Key Events, History, Background and Reason for Observance on Sept 28.

Anti-rabies vaccination of a dog, Source: Reuters
Anti-rabies vaccination of a dog, Source: Reuters

Every year on September 28, World Rabies Day is observed to raise awareness and prevention of rabies. The day aims at bringing people, organizations, governments, and stakeholders together to fight against rabies. September 28 also marks the death anniversary of Louis Pasteur who was the first person to create a vaccine against rabies in 1885. World Rabies Day 2021 is the 15th World Rabies Day.

World Rabies Day 2021: Theme

The World Rabies Day 2021 theme is ‘Rabies: Fact, not Fear’. The theme aims to share facts about rabies and not spread fear about the disease by relying on myths or misinformation. Fears, misinformation, misconception about rabies disease dates back hundreds of years. Therefore, facts are crucial for raising awareness and prevention of rabies, vaccination of animal population against rabies, and education of people about the rabies disease and how to prevent it.

As per the WHO website, the theme of World Rabies Day 2021 has been designed as such that one can participate in several ways wherein one can become a certified rabies educator with the Rabies Educator Certificate, or advocate for rabies control initiatives in communities such as mass dog vaccination or sharing accurate facts about rabies through social media.

World Rabies Day: History and why it is observed on September 28?

World Rabies Day began as a global health observance in 2007 to raise awareness and prevention of rabies. The first World Rabies Day was observed as a collaboration between the Alliance for Rabies Control, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

September 28 also marks the death anniversary of Louis Pasteur. In 1885, Pasteur was the first person to create a vaccine against rabies, a zoonotic disease.

Though rabies is a 100 per cent preventable disease but more than 59,000 people die of rabies every year. WHO has been promoting the prevention and control of dog-mediated rabies, especially in low and middle-income countries. Vaccination of domestic animals such as dogs is the most effective way to control rabies.

Also read: World Zoonoses Day 2021: What is zoonosis? Its significance during pandemic times

World Rabies Day: Significance

As per the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Rabies Day is an opportunity to reflect on how rabies impacts your community and other communities of the world.

With the global COVID19 pandemic, it is crucial for raising awareness about zoonotic diseases that are transmitted through animals and bust myths or misconceptions around them. Zoonotic viruses responsible for spreading rabies are present on every continent except Antarctica.

Dogs-mediated rabies is the most common cause of the spread of rabies as these dogs are unvaccinated and they can pass the virus to humans. Studies show that if 70 per cent of dogs are vaccinated, rabies can be successfully controlled in an area.

Also read: UN bodies to set up One Health panel to prevent zoonotic diseases

World Rabies Day 2021: Key Events

Events such as subsidized vaccination clinics for dogs, bike rides, walks, runs, etc are set up in many countries to observe World Rabies Day, along with spreading awareness with posters, videos, etc through social media.

What is rabies?

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), rabies is a zoonotic disease that is usually transmitted from animals such as dogs that are not vaccinated against rabies. The disease can cause progressive and fatal inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

Symptoms of rabies

Fever and headache are usually the initial symptoms of rabies after an animal bite. More progressed symptoms include partial paralysis, inflammation of the brain, insomnia, anxiety, confusion, anger, agitation, terror, paranoia, hallucinations, and coma. One also reports fear of water or hydrophobia as a prominent symptom of rabies.

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