Rabies is one of the deadliest diseases on the planet. While it is known to infect any mammal, canine-mediated human rabies has the highest case fatality rate of any known infectious disease. Each year 59,000 people die from rabies, with over 99% of the cases being contracted from a dog bite. Rabies is most prevalent in Africa, India and other parts of Asia, with over half of the deaths occurring in children under the age of 15. Just like any other disease, to protect people at least 70% of dogs in an area need to receive rabies vaccinations for rabies to no longer be transmitted and create pack immunity.
The vaccine to prevent rabies has been around for more that 100 years. It is a proven method for preventing both human and canine rabies. This is why human death from canine rabies in the developed world is virtually nonexistent. In the United States rabies is thankfully quite rare in dogs because city and state policies require all dogs to be vaccinated. The challenge arises in countries with insufficient veterinary infrastructure and the financial investments that are required to vaccinate enough dogs to break rabies transmission chains. To achieve the global goal of eliminating rabies by 2030, the focus will need to be on decreasing the cost of vaccinating dogs and increasing access to vaccines especially in rabies endemic areas. Rabies Free Africa is a program developed by Washington State University to empower countries in East Africa to create self-sustaining programs to eliminate current human rabies deaths and set up surveillance to identify future outbreaks.
The WSU’s Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health is working with international partners to eliminate the cause of human suffering and death as a part of the Zero by 2030 initiative. This project is combining game changing vaccine research with community-based programs in the development and deployment of strategies needed to eliminate rabies. The research conducted through Rabies Free Africa aims to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of mass -dog rabies vaccination programs.
Elko Veterinary Clinic is joining this project and for the entire month of September will be donating $1 for every Rabies vaccine administered in the month of September. We will also be doing a Vaccination Clinic on September 27th, to promote rabies awareness. If your pet is due for a rabies vaccine or you would like to make a donation please come in and join us. By donating just $10 you will provide a rabies vaccine, that will vaccinate a dog and save a child’s life. For more information go to www.rabiesfreeafrica.org.