September 28 Designated as World Rabies Day

Sep 20, 2011, 11:08 ET from Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)

HUMMELSTOWN, Pa., Sept. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Global Alliance for Rabies Control has designated September 28 as World Rabies Day. The mission of World Rabies Day is to bring about awareness of the sources of rabies in humans and animals and to provide information on how to prevent exposure.

Rabies is a viral disease in mammals which animals and people can get through exposure to saliva or nervous tissue of a rabid animal. It spreads from the exposure site through the nervous system to the brain, eventually causing death if not immediately treated with medical care. More than 55,000 people die from rabies each year, mostly in Africa and Asia where little medical care exists. The largest source of rabies in humans around the world is due to uncontrolled rabies in dogs, and children are most at risk for being bitten. This is why it is so important to educate the public on how easy it can be to prevent rabies through animal vaccinations, being aware of your surroundings, and having available medical treatment nearby.

According to Kristin Herman from the Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory, rabies in 2010 in Pennsylvania occurred mostly commonly in raccoons by a large margin, but what may surprise many people is that cats tied skunks for second highest number of positive cases. It's important to educate the public, especially children, that it is not safe to pet, feed or handle animals with which they are unfamiliar. A common misconception is that you will be able to spot an animal with rabies, but obvious signs like foaming at the mouth may never occur, so it is wise to use caution with any unknown animals.

Simple tips to prevent rabies include enjoying all wildlife from a distance, never leaving garbage or pet food bowls outside, vaccinating your pets, and not letting pets roam outside. Dozens of educational materials and information on rabies are available on the World Rabies Day website at

The Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) is the only statewide professional organization of over 2,200 veterinarians from across the Commonwealth. The association, which was established in 1883, strives to advance animal welfare and human health while ensuring the vitality of the veterinary profession. PVMA's website is available at

SOURCE Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)