This year is the 15th celebration of World Rabies Day and we’re excited to join in the celebrations. This year’s theme is centered on highlighting facts and eliminating myths. The Glocal Alliance for Rabies Control decided this was the ideal theme for 2021 because there has been a resurgence in misconceptions regarding immunizations and vaccine hesitancy. This has been a major hurdle in eliminating one of the most heartbreaking and preventable viruses.
To highlight the importance of keeping your pets vaccinated, we wanted to share with you important facts and dispel myths regarding rabies.
Myth: Rabies Is No Longer an Issue
As Americans, it’s often easy to forget that there are still animals in our country that are infected with rabies. And, while rare, one to three people in the U.S. still contract rabies every year. Globally, 59,000 people die from rabies annually.
While wild animals are most likely to be infected with rabies, our pets cross paths with critters all the time. In fact, many dogs and cats often find chasing critters irresistible--and many of these wild creatures are the most common carriers of rabies.
The most common animals to carry rabies are:
- Bats--currently the top carrier
Myth: You Are Exempt from Contracting Rabies
People continue to be exposed to rabies and contract this fatal disease. To protect yourself, never handle wild animals, even if they’re injured. In foreign countries, one of the most common causes of human rabies cases is bites from unvaccinated dogs. Keep this in mind as you travel and in your day-to-day life.
If you are scratched or bitten by an unfamiliar animal whose vaccine status is unknown, you should first wash the area thoroughly with soap and water then seek medical care ASAP.
Fact: The Rabies Virus Remains Present in the Continental U.S.
Not only is rabies still a problem, but between 2013 and 2017, bats with rabies were found in every U.S. state except Hawaii. Raccoons with rabies have been found in many U.S. states, including many throughout the Midwest.
Fact: Rabies Is 100% Preventable & 99% Fatal
The rabies vaccine has proven to be 100% effective in preventing our pets from contracting the rabies virus. This vaccine not only keeps our pets safe but also keeps us and our families worry-free regarding rabies. When your pet is vaccinated, you can rest assured they will not carry rabies into your home.
The survival rate for a person or animals that contract rabies is a slim .01%.
Fact: You Can Make a Difference
The spread of rabies can be stopped, and you have the ability to help stop it. The first step to ending rabies is to keep your pets’ vaccinations up-to-date. You can also spread awareness by sharing this article on your social media accounts. We encourage you to learn more by visiting the Global Alliance for Rabies Control’s website and taking the pledge to support End Rabies Now and reading more about the reality of rabies in the 21st century.
Protect Your Pet, Family, and Yourself from Rabies
If your pet is due for their annual exam or rabies vaccination, please give us a call at (715) 463-2536 to schedule an appointment. Together we can stop the spread of rabies and educate others to do the same.
Photo Credit: Pexels.