Dog-Transmitted Rabies Kills 160 People a Day Worldwide: Study

Dog-Transmitted Rabies Kills 160 People a Day Worldwide: Study

THURSDAY, April 16, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Rabies transmitted by dogs kills 160 people a day worldwide and about 59,000 a year, a new study finds.

While rabies is nearly always fatal, it is also nearly 100 percent preventable, researchers noted. They said the best, most cost-effective way of preventing canine rabies in people is by vaccinating dogs. Protection also can be improved by increasing access to rabies vaccines for people.

The investigators found that the death rate (per 100,000 people) from canine rabies is highest in countries in sub-Saharan Africa, while the largest number of deaths occur in India, with more than 20,000 each year.

In nearly all African and Asian countries, rates of rabies vaccinations among dogs are far lower than what is necessary to control the disease, according to the findings published April 16 in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

The annual economic costs of canine rabies in people total about $8.6 billion a year due to factors such as premature deaths, lost income and spending on human vaccines.

The study was conducted by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control’s (GARC) Partners for Rabies Prevention Group.

“This groundbreaking study is an essential step towards improved control and eventual elimination of rabies,” Louis Nel, GARC executive director, said in a news release from the group. “An understanding of the actual burden helps us determine and advocate for the resources needed to tackle this fatal disease.”

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains how to protect your family from rabies.