‘Zero by Thirty’ – the fight to eradicate rabies

The global community is uniting to stop human rabies related deaths, with the theme of this year’s World Rabies Day being ‘Zero by Thirty.’

Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Mark Schipp said that while Australia can celebrate rabies-free status, the disease continues to claim lives in other parts of the world.

“Rabies kills almost 60,000 people each year, with most of those deaths in Africa and Asia,” Dr Schipp said.

“The global target is to eliminate all human deaths caused by dog mediated rabies by 2030 – ‘zero by thirty.’

“The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources continually reviews biosecurity control measures to mitigate the risk of an infectious disease outbreak in Australia.

“Rabies is contracted through the bite of an infected animal, and most commonly spread by dogs. Mass vaccination of dogs is the most effective, reliable and sustainable way to control and eliminate rabies.

“Other species including cats, monkeys and bats can also pass on rabies, and Australians are urged to play it safe, and seek treatment if bitten while travelling overseas.

“The department works closely with overseas counterparts like the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture, to improve infectious disease management.

“Work carried out in partnership with countries like Indonesia plays a crucial role in safeguarding Australia from rabies as well as other exotic diseases.

“On home soil, early detection techniques are improving, and work is ongoing to enhance our response plan for rabies and other infectious diseases.

“There are strict rules in place about bringing animals into Australia, and our systems are proving extremely effective in keeping rabies at bay.

“The first rabies vaccine was developed by Louis Pasteur, and annual World Rabies Day marks the anniversary of his death on 28 September.”

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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