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‘59,000 people die from rabies yearly’

The World Veterinary Association (WVA) and the World Medical Association (WMA) have raised the alarm over rising deaths from rabies, saying about 59,000 people die yearlly from the disease.

A joint statement released by the

both organisations, to mark the World Rabies Day 2021, reminded citizens that rabies is still a serious public health issue in more than 150 countries in the world.

Rabies is a deadly virus that attacks the central nervous system and it is transmitted from animals to humans, most commonly by animal bites

According to the President of the WVA, Dr. Patricia Turner, the ultimate goal is to control and eliminate dog-mediated rabies which is one of the few communicable diseases that can be eliminated.

“Approximately 97 per cent of the human cases are attributed to dog bites and can be prevented by vaccinating at least 70 per cent of dogs in high risk areas.”

Currently, there are vaccines and tools that can be used by vetinerians and in cases of public health interventions.

Speaking further on how to reduce the number of deaths caused by rabies annually, the President of the WMA, Dr. David Barbe said,“ To prevent human rabies death by 2030, a variety of strategies are being combined through mass vaccination of dogs, surveillance and epidemiology, enhancing laboratory diagnostic capabilities, increasing public awareness and risk communication.”

Educating communities and professionals while also protecting areas that have already been established as rabies-free zones will also help to lower the risks involved with rabies.

The World Rabies Day aims to promote these undertakings.

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