World Rabies Day falls on 28 September every year. It was started by Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) to promote action and awareness for rabies prevention.
This year’s World Rabies Day theme is “Zero by 30” because a common goal of zero human deaths from canine rabies by 2030 was agreed by the WHO, World Organisation for Animal Health, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and GARC.
In light of the recent outbreaks in Malaysia, let’s learn some facts about rabies and how to prevent dog bites.
5 facts about rabies
- Rabies is transmitted through animal saliva via bites puncturing the skin. Other animals can also transmit rabies, including bats.
- 99% of human cases are caused by dog bites.
- Rabies affects mostly poor rural communities in Asia and Africa. Rabies is found in all continents except Antarctica.
- 40% of victims are younger than 15.
- Vaccinating 70% of the dogs breaks the rabies transmission cycle in an area at risk. Rabies is 100% preventable.
5 tips to prevent dog bites
Teaching kids (and adults) how to avoid animal bites is key to rabies prevention and control
Dogs don’t bite without a reason. They may bite because they feel scared, pain or frustration. They also bite when they want to defend their territory or when they have not been socialised with people or other animals. Let’s learn to live responsibly and safely to prevent being bitten.
Say “hello” to Bella!
- Do not disturb or scare her, especially when she is eating or tied up. – Don’t disturb her when she is with her toys, puppies, in a car, behind a fence or when she is asleep or ill.
- Keep away from her when she is angry or scared.
– When she is angry, she will show her teeth.
– When she is scared, her tail will be between her legs and she will try to run away.
- Don’t move if she approaches you when she is not on a lead.
– Stand still like a tree trunk.
– If you fall over, curl up and stay as still and heavy as a rock.
- Approach her slowly and quietly.
– Ask her owner or your parents/guardian’s permission before you touch her. Let her approach you first. Make sure you’re not staring into her face directly. She may feel threatened. When you stroke her, stroke her back first.
- If a dog bites you act quickly. Wash the wound with soap and water and look for a first aid centre.
Remember to tell your parents that you were bitten. Tell them which dog it was and where you were when it bit you.