New Delhi: World Rabies Day is commemorated on September 28 every year. It is a global health observance day that began in 2007 to raise awareness about the impact of the world’s deadliest infectious disease on humans and animals. This year celebrates the 16th World Rabies Day, and on this occasion, it will bring together partners to offer information and guidance on how to avoid illness in at-risk areas and support lobbying for enhanced efforts in rabies control.
The campaign also aims to bring together all relevant partners in an effort to address rabies prevention and control. Health workers, scientists, and personnel in communities who are at risk of rabies are encouraged to access a bank of awareness resources through the website of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control for use in local educational initiatives.
World Rabies Day 2022: A brief history
World Rabies day marks the death anniversary of Louis Pasteur who, with the collaboration of his colleagues, developed the first efficacious rabies vaccine.
The Alliance for Rabies Control and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, both in Atlanta and Georgia, organised the first World Rabies Day campaign on September 8, 2007, with the support of the World Health Organisation to raise awareness about the disease.
World Rabies Day 2022: Significance
World Rabies Day was founded to be an inclusive day of education, awareness and action to encourage groups at all levels, from international to local, to increase the spread of messages that would lead to the prevention of rabies. Its objectives include raising global awareness about rabies along with how to stop the disease and educating people in rabies-prone countries to prevent rabies.
In many nations around the world, rabies is still a serious health concern. Rabid dog attacks result in more than 99% of all human fatalities worldwide, with 95% of those fatalities happening in Africa and Asia.
An estimated 31,000 human deaths occur annually in Asia, due to rabies with the majority – approximately 20,000, being concentrated in India. Worldwide, India has the highest rate of human rabies primarily due to stray dogs. All continents, with the exception of Antarctica, are at risk for rabies infection in both humans and animals.
World Rabies Day 2022: Theme
This year’s theme for World Rabies Day – ‘Rabies: One Health, Zero Deaths’ will highlight the connection of the environment with both people and animals.
The Global Strategic Plan for the eradication of human rabies mortality caused by dogs by 2030 is an ambitious proposal with attainable goals. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the obvious weaknesses of the health systems, but it also showed what can be accomplished when different sectors work together.
According to WHO, it is possible to eradicate rabies by working together, uniting forces, engaging communities, and committing to continued dog vaccination.