AGA IN ACTION
World Rabies Day 2009
FAO commends the efforts behind the World Rabies Day initiative, held on Monday 28 September 2009, now being commemorated for the third time.
Rabies is an acute and fatal zoonotic viral disease that infects domestic and wild animals and is transmissible to humans. Unvaccinated dogs can be infected with the rabies virus. Bites from rabid dogs cause many human infections and deaths, but rabies is a preventable disease. Rabies is found in over 150 countries worldwide, particularly in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, and causes deaths of over 55,000 people every year.
FAO is contributing to the Partnership for Rabies Prevention (PRP) in developing the contents and format of the Blueprint for Prevention and Control of Rabies. Specifically, FAO is drafting the chapter on roles and responsibilities for rabies control.
Because rabies control is a public good, policymakers at national and international levels need to be aware of the multidimensional impacts of this disease and the options available for its prevention and control.
World Rabies Day plays an important role in advocating for the prevention and control of this disease among policy makers especially in countries where rabies is still neglected despite the severe impact it has on human health and well-being.
The factors that contribute to the rise of rabies in many developing countries are being elucidated. The veterinary profession plays an important role by controlling the disease in the animal population including the promotion of responsible dog-keeping and the vaccination of susceptible animals. The One World - One Health approach integrating human, animal and environmental health embraced by FAO provides a valuable platform to bring together the animal, human and wildlife sectors to tackle rabies in a coordinated and cost-effective manner.