In the lead up to Dog Bite Prevention Week (April 7 – 13) and World Health Day on April 7th, Vets Beyond Borders is raising awareness about rabies prevention in countries where dog bites lead to thousands of human deaths ever year!
Rabies infection is caused by the rabies virus, which is spread through the saliva of infected animals by biting another animal or a person. It is nearly ALWAYS fatal, but it’s 100% preventable by vaccination.
Australia is free of rabies, but tragically the virus kills approximately 59,000 people every year – 40 per cent children in Asia and Africa, according to the World Health Organisation. Rabies also causes financial hardship when people have to pay for vaccination after bite wounds. An estimated more than 5.5 billion people live at daily risk of rabies (source: Global Alliance for Rabies Control).
VBB volunteers deliver Community Awareness programs in schools and community groups in developing countries where they are desperately needed, to increase awareness of the importance of kindness towards animals, how to behave around them and how to minimise the risk of rabies infection.
Through VBB’s VetMatch program, volunteer veterinarians, veterinary nurses and other animal welfare workers are deployed across the globe to deliver animal health and community awareness programs where they are desperately needed.
In collaboration with the Indian Government of Sikkim and international charity Fondation Brigitte Bardot, VBB created the SARAH (Sikkim Animal Rabies & Animal Health) Program in Sikkim to provide canine rabies vaccination, humane dog population control, community education and treatment of sick and injured animals.
As a result of the work of VBB volunteers and local staff over the past 10 years, this unique initiative has led to not only a dramatic reduction in the number of rabies deaths but also marked improvements in animal health!
Together, we can prevent rabies deaths through increased awareness, vaccinating dogs to prevent disease at its source, and timely life-saving post-bite treatment for people.
For more information or to apply to register as a VBB Community Awareness volunteer, please visit https://www.vetsbeyondborders.org/programs/community-awareness/