AVMA rabies video aimed at reducing rabies deaths globally; available for World Rabies Day 2012

Sep 27, 2012, 16:15 ET from American Veterinary Medical Association

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Sept. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Every year more than 70,000 people die from rabies around the globe, with the majority of these deaths occurring in children under the age of 15. 

In an effort to eliminate rabies, the American Veterinary Medical Association and Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) have teamed up to produce an educational video titled, "Rabies: Simple Steps Save Lives" (http://youtu.be/VyPi28YRHlU).

The educational video, available in English with French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and English subtitles, is being released in time for World Rabies Day, recognized this year on Friday, September 28.

"Due to the hard work of veterinarians, public health agencies, animal control workers, and successful vaccination campaigns for pets, rabies deaths in the United States have declined from 100 or more each year to an average of two or three each year," said Dr. Douglas Aspros, president of the AVMA.

However, each year, people continue to be exposed to rabid animals. "Human deaths from exposure to rabies are entirely preventable," said Dr. Aspros. "For this reason, the AVMA has joined forces with the GARC to create this video."

Peter Costa, director for global communication for the GARC, hopes this video will be used globally to educate people about what rabies is and how exposure to rabies can be prevented.

"Vaccinating animals and providing information and access to post-exposure treatment can prevent thousands of deaths," Costa said. "Once symptoms of the virus start, it's too late and almost always fatal."

Costa said that dog bites are the most common transmitter of rabies to humans around the world. For example, a young South African man was bitten by a dog and two days later went into the hospital for a rabies shot. However, he did not return to the hospital to receive the additional rabies shots necessary to complete the treatment and died.

"We're hoping that through this public education and outreach effort, we can reduce the number of deaths due to rabies around the world, and remind the U.S. population about the dangers of interacting with stray and wild animals," Dr. Aspros said.

Visit http://youtu.be/VyPi28YRHlU to view or download "Rabies: Simple Steps to Save Lives" from the AVMA You Tube channel. For more information about World Rabies Day activities visit www.worldrabiesday.org or www.avma.org.

The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 82,500 member veterinarians worldwide engaged in a wide variety of professional activities.

SOURCE American Veterinary Medical Association