Even though it is 100 percent preventable, rabies still claims the lives of more than 55,000 people around the world each year. Though the majority of these deaths are outside the U.S., there have recently been reports of rabies deaths close to home.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently reported that three people in the United States have died from rabies in the past year [view article]: In August, a U.S. soldier contracted the virus, presumably while deployed in Afghanistan, and later died. Also this summer, a Mexican migrant worker died from a vampire bat rabies virus variant. In late 2010, a Wisconsin man was admitted to the hospital and by the time doctors were able to determine it was rabies that was making him sick, it was too late.
The Ohio Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) is joining organizations around the globe in support of World Rabies Day on Sept. 28, an annual event created to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of rabies prevention. World Rabies Day reinforces the message that although rabies is a preventable disease, it still kills thousands of people and pets worldwide needlessly each year.
COLUMBUS, OHIO — APRIL 25, 2011 — This Saturday, the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) will join the global veterinary community in celebrating World Veterinary Day. Observed annually on the last Saturday in April, this year’s event is aimed at raising awareness of rabies prevention and control.
COLUMBUS, OHIO — SEPT. 27, 2010 — Not long ago, intense media attention to the avian, swine and canine influenza viruses caused widespread panic across the globe. At one time, the rabies virus received as much attention, but in recent decades, Old Yeller is long forgotten and the panic over rabies has died down.However, rabies is alive and well. It is easy to contract and has the highest case-fatality rate of any infectious disease, annually killing more than 55,000 people around the world.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, municipal and county rabies vaccination ordinances cover only 45.4 percent of the dogs, 37.75 percent of the cats, and 23.1 percent of the ferrets in Ohio.
Ohio is one of only a few states in the country and the only state east of the Mississippi that does not have a statewide requirement for dogs to be vaccinated for rabies. Efforts to change this in the past by obtaining a statewide rabies vaccination requirement in Ohio have failed, most recently in 2008 when last-minute objections by the National Rifle Association scuttled the bill.
While local ordinances mandating rabies vaccinations can be adopted in Ohio’s communities, the ODH data demonstrate that a significant portion of Ohio’s pet populations remain outside the scope of a rabies vaccination requirement. OVMA continues to seek a state legislative solution to this public and animal health problem.