28 September 2016

HEALTH - Global Rabies Control Efforts Continue

An all-time favourite of many is the classic movie Old Yeller, a story about a boy and stray dog set in post-Civil War Texas.

It is a tale about love, childhood adventures, and family and is a challenge to watch and not shed at least one tear.

Because the dog gets stricken with rabies.

Rabies is often associated with dogs, but it affects many different types of mammals and can be transferred to humans quite easily.

September 28th is World Rabies Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about rabies and improving global prevention and control efforts.

September 28th also marks the anniversary of Louis Pasteur's death, the French chemist and microbiologist who developed the first rabies vaccine.

Rabies is a viral disease that is transmitted through the saliva or tissues from the nervous system of an infected mammal to another mammal, usually through a bite.

Typical incubation is three to eight weeks, and once symptoms appear rabies is almost always fatal.

Knowledge about rabies is important even if you are not a pet owner.

Recently an Alberta woman was bitten by a bat hiding in the back seat of her car. Fortunately, she decided to get it checked out - the bat turned out to be rabid.

Because rabies can affect wildlife, anyone who spends time outdoors or has children that do, should be aware of the disease.

Each year around the world, rabies results in more than 59,000 deaths – that is nearly one death every nine minutes.

Up to 60% of all rabies deaths are children under the age of 15.

Despite its almost 100% case fatality rate, canine rabies is completely preventable with modern vaccines. Nobody needs to die of rabies.

What can you do?
  1. Take Pets to a Veterinarian for Their Rabies Shot
Regular vet checks and up-to-date vaccinations are key.
  1. Stay away of unfamiliar/stray animals and wildlife.
One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family is to avoid contact with wild animals. More than 90% of all animal rabies cases reported to CDC each year occur in wild animals. The main animals that get rabies include raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes.
  1. Stay Rabies Free In and Around Your Home
No matter where you live, there are steps you can take to keep wild or stray, rabid animals away.  Simple things like not putting food out or covering up your garbage cans can make a big difference.

For more on protection and prevention visit the Centers for Disease Control website.

Even though there have been great strides controlling rabies it is important to continue the effort.

Take part in this year’s World Rabies Day - look for events in your area that provide an opportunity to celebrate World Rabies Day and get the facts on rabies prevention and control.

By Cori Imbery
Cori is an animal lover and marketing consultant with over 15 years’ experience developing and enhancing in market activities. She brings to the table a 360-degree view that highlights different perspectives and opens minds to possibilities. She is also an artist and creates ultra-realistic pieces in graphite, pastel pencils and acrylics, but loves to play and experiment depending on what the vision calls for.

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