WORLD RABIES DAY
September 28 is ‘World Rabies Day’, and it’s goal is to raise global awareness of rabies prevention and control measures. Human rabies is uncommon in the United States, so it is easy to forget the impact rabies could have on us. Thankfully, today we have a strong rabies prevention and control programs available, but remember that more than 55,000 people die from rabies each year in Asia and Africa.
This year, Maryland had its first case of human rabies since 1976, and this was actually contracted through an organ transplant. Through the end of August, there have been 284 rabies cases in Maryland, and approximately 400 animals are confirmed rabid in our state each year. Approximately 1,000 Maryland residents that have recieved rabies post-exposure prophylaxis annually because of exposure to a rabid animal. In our own Frederick County, there are usually between 40 to 80 cases of rabies in animals each year. The most common species involved are racoons and bats, but there are also cases reported in groundhogs, rabbits, horses, and even cats. (NOTE: it has luckily been sometime since a case of canine rabies has occured in Maryland.)
So what can you do to reduce you (and your pets) risk of this fatal disease? Of course vaccination if the cornerstone of rabies prevention. Rabies vaccinations are legally required for all cats and dogs (in Frederick County and in Maryland), and are given every 1-3 years. It is very important to keep your pet up-to-date. Human vaccination is also available for persons that are exposed or are at risk of exposure.
Please feel free to give us a call to check on your pet’s vaccination status.