A Common Misconception
There’s a common misconception that rabid wildlife exists solely in rural parts of the country, far from the hustle and bustle of urban and suburban life. Unfortunately, the existence of rabid animals is likely closer to home than you may think.
In 2014, more than 6,000 rabid animals in the United States and Puerto Rico were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), representing a nearly 3 percent increase from the year prior.1 The most common wildlife transmitters of the virus are raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks; cats, dogs and cattle are the primary domestic animal transmitters.1
Why does that matter? Because rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease that occurs in more than 150 countries and territories around the world2. Dogs are the source of the vast majority of human rabies deaths globally, contributing up to 99 percent of all rabies transmissions to humans.2 Across the globe, rabies claims 60,000 human lives each year.3
An Expert’s Opinion
“Vaccination of pets is a critical component of rabies prevention,” says Dr. Richard Ford, Emeritus Professor at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “In fact, most states have adopted mandates requiring vaccination, and for good reason.”
Getting Your Pet Vaccinated
Ford advises pet owners to visit their veterinarian for rabies vaccinations, expert advice and reliable care for their pets. Rabies prevention is the leading mission of World Rabies Day, which is observed on Sept. 28 each year.
To find a veterinarian that's right for your pet, check out the vet finder feature on GoodnightRabies.com. As a reward for vaccinating your dog or cat against rabies, upload a photo of your most recent rabies vaccination receipt to the site by Oct. 28, 2016 and receive one of three prizes from Merial, the maker of IMRAB® Rabies vaccines and PUREVAX® Feline Rabies vaccines.
1 Monroe BP, Yager P, Blanton J, et al. Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2014. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2016 Spring; 248(7): 777-788. doi: 10.2460/javma.248.7.777
2 Rabies. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs099/en/. Updated March 2016. Accessed August 15, 2016.
3 Human rabies. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/rabies/human/en/. Accessed August 15, 2016.
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