It is the sum of every individual event, large and small, that makes World Rabies Day a global movement

Saturday, September 28, 2013 marks the sixth annual World Rabies Day, co-sponsored by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

World Rabies Day aims to raise awareness about and prevent the spread of rabies –  a life-threatening disease that affects more than 3.3 billion people living in enzootic areas.

Rabies is the deadliest disease on earth with a 99.9 per cent fatality rate once the first sign of clinical symptoms appear. Rabies is endemic in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas and is transmitted by a wide range of animals. The virus attacks the central nervous system causing severely distressing neurological symptoms before death occurs.

The disease results in an estimated 55,000 deaths world-wide each year, causing approximately one death every 10 minutes. The vast majority of deaths from rabies occur in Asia and Africa, primarily among children who are bitten by rabid dogs. Sadly however, the disease remains neglected.

“Travellers have little understanding about rabies at all, let alone how to minimise the risk of rabies, which is quite concerning considering it’s such a potentially fatal disease,” said Caroline Nash, Victoria, Australia, who has authored a brochure on rabies which was also transmitted into Russian.

The combination of educational activities, vaccination of dogs in affected areas and the timely provision of travel health advice to those visiting rabies-endemic regions, serve in the fight to eliminate this preventable disease.

This year’s theme for World Rabies Day – Rabies: understand it to defeat it – is designed to celebrate all of the educators and communicators who work tirelessly to increase understanding about rabies.

This Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people will join forces world-wide to promote the benefit of rabies prevention by participating in local, regional and national events. From educating village elders in remote areas, to coordinating national media campaigns, each rabies campaign will share a common goal – to raise awareness and education about the transmission of rabies and what to do should a person be exposed to the virus.

GARC is encouraging people world-wide to participate in World Rabies Day to help eliminate the fatal disease. GARC hosts an extensive range of rabies resources in various languages on their website, including posters, factsheets, videos and teaching materials, as well as a comprehensive rabies guide. GARC also encourages you to register an event and invite others to participate and to share an event on a global events map or brand materials with World Rabies Day logos in different languages.

It is the sum of every individual event, large and small, that makes World Rabies Day a global movement – a day designed with everyone in mind.

VIVA! Communications encourages you to take a moment to find an event near you.

Get involved and share your World Rabies Day experiences and photos with the world! Discuss your involvement via Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #RabiesIsPreventable and help spread awareness about World Rabies Day by cross-posting on other platforms.

VIVA! Communications looks forward to partnering with our GLOBALHealthPR partners to promote this exciting global health initiative designed to raise awareness about rabies in order to defeat it.