World Rabies Day 2020: Current Theme, History, Significance and Facts

World Rabies Day 2020: It is observed on 28 September to spread awareness about rabies prevention and focuses on defeating this horrifying disease. Let us have a look at the current theme of 2020, history, and significance.
Created On: Sep 28, 2020 09:53 IST
Modified On: Sep 28, 2020 10:50 IST
World Rabies Day
World Rabies Day

World Rabies Day 2020: It is observed on 28 September to raise awareness about rabies and to bring together to enhance prevention and control efforts across the world. It is observed in several countries including the United States.
According to WHO, around 20,000 rabies deaths occurred in India every year. Rabies killed more people in India in the last five years than COVID-19.

What is Rabies?

It is a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans and is also known as a zoonotic disease. It is caused by the rabies virus, of the Lyssavirus genus, within the family Rhabdoviridae. The most common reservoir of the virus is the domestic dog with more than 99% of human deaths caused by dog-mediated rabies.

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World Rabies Day 2020: Theme

The theme for World Rabies Day 2020 is “End Rabies: Collaborate, Vaccinate”. The theme focuses and reminds about the key current issues in rabies elimination namely the goal of Zero by 30, the importance of dog vaccination and post-exposure prophylaxis, and the need for a united effort towards achieving elimination of this transboundary disease.

World Rabies Day: History

28 September marks the anniversary of Louis Pasteur's death, the French chemist and microbiologist, who developed the first rabies vaccine. In 2007, the first World Rabies Day (ERD) was organised by the two founding partners namely Alliance for Rabies Control (ARC) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta (CDC).

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Symptoms of Rabies

In the United States, animals that transmit rabies are bats, foxes, raccoons, and skunks. In some developing countries of Africa and Southeast Asia, stray dogs are the most likely to spread rabies to people. If a person is showing signs and symptoms of rabies, the disease nearly always causes death. Therefore, a person who is at risk of contracting rabies should take rabies vaccinations for protection. The first symptoms of rabies may be similar to flu and may last for a few days.

- Fever
- Headache
- Nausea
- Vomiting
- Anxiety
- Confusion
- Hyperactivity
- Difficulty swallowing
- Excessive salivation
- Hallucinations
- Insomnia
- Partial paralysis
- Fear brought on by attempts to drink fluids because of difficulty swallowing water, etc.

Therefore, it is necessary to take immediate medical care if you are beaten by any animal or exposed to an animal suspected of having rabies. 

How is rabies caused?

It is caused by the rabies virus and spread via the saliva of infected animals. The infected animal can spread the virus by biting another animal or a person. in certain rare cases, rabies can spread when infected saliva gets into an open wound or the mucous membranes like the mouth or eyes. This can occur if an infected animal were to lick at an open cut on your skin.

Some of the animals that can transmit rabies virus are:

It is said that any mammal can transmit the rabies virus. Some of the animals that can transmit the rabies virus are cats, cows, Dogs, Ferrets, Goats, Horses, and wild animals are Bats, Beavers, Coyotes, Foxes, Monkeys, Raccoons, Skunks, etc.

Source: WHO, CDC

Important Days and Dates in September 2020


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