World Rabies Day

September 28 is World Rabies Day, a global health observance started in 2007 to raise awareness about rabies and bring together partners to enhance prevention and control efforts worldwide. World Rabies Day is observed in many countries, including the United States.

World Rabies Day is an opportunity to reflect on how rabies impacts your community and other communities around the world. Rabies is still present in many parts of the United States where it is often found in wildlife. However, roughly a quarter of reported rabies cases in the United States are a result from dog bites received during international travel. The best way to protect you, your family, and your pets is to keep dogs and cats up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. You can also protect you and your family by travelling smart, and avoiding contact with dogs and other animals that may have rabies when you travel outside the country. Find out the rabies status of any country using CDC’s interactive assessment site.

While rabies is a 100% preventable disease, more than 59,000 people die from the disease around the world each year. World Rabies Day is an opportunity to reflect on our efforts to control this deadly disease and remind ourselves that the fight is not yet over. Major health organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)external icon, the World Health Organization (WHO)external icon, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)external icon, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)external icon are working together to eliminate human deaths from dog-transmitted rabies by 2030.

Rabies Around the World
Haitian children bring their puppies to the rabies vaccination clinic.

CDC’s Rabies Team works in many countries affected by rabies to help set up programs to control, track, provide education, and prevent this disease. See examples of our work around the world.

CDC experts also conduct an annual assessment of individual countries’ rabies status worldwide. This assessment helps inform CDC’s travel health recommendations and animal importation regulations.

In Our Voices: CDC Blogs
A street dog with her puppies, found in an alley in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

CDC microbiologist Lauren Greenberg writes about building rabies diagnostic capacity in the effort to control rabies in countries that are most affected by the disease. You can also read Our Global Voices blog posts by Emily Pieracci and Ryan Wallace, two CDC veterinarians, about their experiences working against rabies around the world.