A new global study has revealed that approximately 60,000 people are killed by rabies annually which translates to 160 people per day. The canine rabies costs the economies billions of dollars and the truth of the matter is, the disease may require more resources to prevent it.

However, it is a sad state to note that many countries that are hardest hit by the disease are not making use of the existing tools to prevent deaths from rabies. This is a concern that has been raised by the coordinator of the Partners for Rabies Prevention Group, Dr Louise Taylor.


“Besides the death concerns we are also having a problem with the income the victims generate,” stated Taylor. “This means we still have the societal cost burden that heavily impacts on the developing countries,” she continued.

The death control efforts may not be so adequate, but they are playing a vital role in preventing a large number of deaths. Never the less, the study indicates that when all costs are put together a total of $8.6 billion is required every year to the global economy.

Generally there are more bites from dogs in men and boys than in girls and women. In addition, according to WHO estimates, 40 to 60 per cent of the victims are usually children under the age of about 16.

The high number of dog bites in children can be explained by the fact that children are more attracted to dogs and may quickly provoke them hence they are more exposed to dog bites.

Canine rabies has since been classified as a neglected tropical disease by WHO. It is Taylor’s wish that rabies would be top on the list of Sustainable Development Goals. This is because many more dogs have not been vaccinated.

Majority of deaths from rabies caused by dog bites are known to occur in India and Africa where rabies is more rampant. Besides, these are the developing regions where infrastructure of the veterinary systems and health systems are not well developed.

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