Rabies is 100% preventable

Today is World Rabies Day, a global health observance started in 2007 to raise awareness about the world’s deadliest infectious disease. Rabies is still present in many parts of the United States, where it is mostly found in wildlife. Because of high vaccination levels in dogs and cats in the US, rabies in pets or other domesticated animals is relatively rare.

Get the facts

Collage of wild animals showing a fox, bat, skunk and raccoon
  • Each year, 4 million Americans are bitten by animals but very few people develop symptoms and later die from rabies.
  • About 60,000 Americans get postexposure prophylaxis shots each year to prevent rabies infection after being bitten or scratched by a rabid animal or an animal suspected of having rabies.
  • Rabies in dogs is common in many other countries. Roughly a quarter of all reported human rabies deaths in the last 58 years among people in the US resulted from dog bites received during international travel.

How to stay safe

  • Keep dogs and cats up to date on their rabies vaccinations.
  • Stay away from wildlife. In the US, rabies is mostly found in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes.
  • Travel smartly: avoid contact with dogs and other animals when you travel outside the country.
  • See a healthcare provider quickly after an animal bite or scratch.