In more than 99% of human cases, the rabies virus is transmitted by domestic dogs. Rabies affects domestic and wild animals, and is spread to people through bites or scratches, usually via saliva.
Rabies kills nearly 25,000 people every year in the WHO South-East Asia Region which accounts for 45% of global deaths caused by the disease. Over 1.5 billion people in the Region are at risk of rabies infection.
Every year an estimated 4 million people take rabies preventive vaccines, mostly after dog bites. About 40% people exposed to dog bites are children in the age group of 5 to 15 years. As of today, rabies has no cure. Eliminating rabies is an important public health goal.
– Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia
- Eliminating rabies in dogs
- Preventive immunization in people
- Pre-exposure immunization is also recommended for people in certain high-risk occupations.
- Rabies is a vaccine-preventable viral disease which occurs in more than 150 countries and territories.
- Dogs are the source of the vast majority of human rabies deaths.
- Rabies elimination is feasible by vaccinating dogs.
- Infection causes tens of thousands of deaths every year, mostly in Asia and Africa.
- 40% of people who are bitten by suspect rabid animals are children under 15 years of age.
- Immediate wound cleansing with soap and water after contact with a suspect rabid animal can be life-saving.
- Every year, more than 15 million people worldwide receive a post-bite vaccination to prevent the disease; this is estimated to prevent hundreds of thousands of rabies deaths annually.