On World Rabies Day, WHO highlights dog vaccination to reduce threatListen /
Vaccinate a dog and save a life is the message from the World Health Organization (WHO) for World Rabies Day, observed on 28 September.
Approximately 55,000 people worldwide, mostly in Asia and Africa, die each year from the disease which is spread by a bite or a scratch from an infected animal, usually a dog.
For this reason, WHO is highlighting dog vaccination programmes as the most effective way to reduce the risk.
Dr. Francois-Xavier Meslin is with the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases at WHO in Geneva.
"People dying from rabies die very quickly. You don't see them, they're gone. They don't stay in hospitals, they don't occupy beds, they don't need treatment. There is no common cure, so in a few days they are buried, gone. It's really invisible but vaccine preventable. You have all the tools you need to deal with a disease. It could be eliminated from the countries where it's present. All the technology is there but there is not the will because it doesn't show." (Duration: 31″)
Rabies symptoms include fever, hyperactivity, difficulty swallowing or paralysis.
WHO says victims usually die painfully in less than a week, even though it can take up to eight weeks for symptoms to appear.