Working together to make rabies history

       Alberta Veterinary Medical Association Supports World Rabies Day
                         Sunday, September 28, 2008

    EDMONTON, Sept. 15 /CNW/ - Sunday September 28, 2008 will mark the second
annual World Rabies Day. The 2008 slogan is: "Working Together to Make Rabies
History". The 2007 inaugural celebration was a huge success and was supported
in over 70 countries worldwide with nearly 400,000 individual participants.
    The origin of World Rabies Day can be traced back to 2006 when a group of
researchers formed the global Alliance for Rabies Control (ARC). They were
joined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Together they
began inviting partners to join them in bringing the World Rabies Day
initiative to fruition.
    Education, public awareness, rabies prevention and elimination are just a
few of the goals of World Rabies Day. Another goal of World Rabies Day is to
increase participation for this initiative on a global scale. The Alberta
Veterinary Medical Association (AB.VMA) has adopted a theme of Global Vision
for the 2008 year and members are encouraged to promote World Rabies Day in
their practices and in their communities.
    Fifty five thousand people die annually from rabies on a world wide
basis. The majority of those are children and the main contact is dogs.
    The spread of rabies continues to be highest overseas, particularly in
Africa and Asia however there are still thousands of cases reported each year
in North America. The veterinary community in Alberta diligently educates
clients on rabies and provides the proper medical care and vaccinations
required in order to prevent and reduce the disease even further.
    The key factor in the reduction of rabies is increasing the public's
awareness about the disease. The following are some basic information points
about rabies.

    -   Rabies is a deadly disease that is caused by a virus most commonly
        spread through the saliva of an infected mammal. It is often passed
        through animal bites.
    -   Bats are a significant source of rabies exposure in North America.
    -   All mammals can contract Rabies, including livestock.
    -   Rabies is 100% preventable in humans!
    -   Rabies strikes children at a higher rate (estimates are 100 kids per
        day in Africa and Asia contract rabies). This is likely due to
        children's willingness to handle animals, including strange or wild
    -   Early treatment once exposed is crucial. Once the outward signs of
        the disease appear, rabies is nearly always fatal.
    -   Prompt treatment after being bitten and before the disease develops
        can stop rabies infection and/or prevent the disease.
    -   Recognize the signs of rabies in animals. Fearfulness, aggression,
        excessive drooling, trouble swallowing staggering and seizures and
        sudden changes in behaviour.
    -   If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound thoroughly with soap
        and water for at least 5 minutes and then immediately contact your
        physician. Make sure the bite is reported. Children should tell an
        adult when they have been bitten.
    -   Reduce a pet's risk of being exposed to rabies by not letting them
        roam free. In addition spaying and neutering pets may decrease
        undesirable behaviour such as the desire to roam.
    -   Vaccinate all cats, dogs and ferrets against rabies. Owners may want
        to consider also vaccinating valuable livestock and horses. Animals
        that have frequent contact with humans should be vaccinated.
    -   Report animal bites to your local health department and to animal
    -   If your pet is bitten by another animal, consult your veterinarian

    A number of excellent resource materials are available on the World
Rabies Site at

For further information:

For further information: Midge Landals, Manager, Communications and
Member Services, (780) 489-5007, Visit

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