Today is World Rabies Day, and to celebrate we’re going to hit you with a pretty alarming statistic: Rabies, a disease for which there has been a vaccine since 1885, kills 55,000 people every year.
Granted, only two of those deaths happen in the United States, but that’s still two too many, veterinary officials say.
Dr. Charles Rupprecht, chief of the rabies program at the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, says rabies is 100 percent preventable, noting that “your local veterinarian plays a key
role in controlling rabies.”
In addition to the human cases, there were roughly 6,000 reported cases of animal rabies in the United States last year alone.
As for the human deaths, the vast majority (about 85 percent) occur in India, where access to the vaccine is limited.
Humans contract the disease though animal bites, mostly dog bites, according to health officials. In India, there are 3.5 million dog bites reported every year.
That said, humans can only get rabies if animals get rabies. So do us all a favor and get your pets vaccinated.