Rabies Awareness – Keep a Top Watch! in your community animation

Department of Agriculture has developed a rabies awareness animated video. The video has been driven through the recommendations from the University of Sydney research into managing the risk of rabies incursion in Papua New Guinea and Charles Darwin University research developing culturally appropriate rabies communications messaging.

Australia does NOT have rabies.

It is a serious disease that kills more the 60,000 people a year across the world, and as it spreads across Australia’s northern neighbours, it is becoming more likely it will eventually reach our shores.

Australia does not have rabies, but it could come here any time:

  • if the virus were to spread from Indonesia, into West Papua and across into Papua New Guinea, there is a greater risk rabies could enter into Australia through Torres Strait
  • via yachts carrying rabies-infected dogs from Indonesia, landing on Australia’s northern coastline and mixing with dingoes and community cats and dogs

The video supports key target messages:

  • Australia does not have rabies. Let’s keep it that way!
  • Keep a TopWatch! for rabies in your community
  • If you see any dog suddenly change their behaviour from a happy to a crazy or strange dog, report it to a ranger, the health clinic, biosecurity officer or another adult you trust.
  • An adult viewer can call the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888

Key stakeholders are encouraged to download and share the video as an educational tool.

Download

Document Format Resolution File size
Rabies Awareness – Keep a Top Watch! in your community animation MP4 HD 1080p 42 MB
Rabies Awareness – Keep a Top Watch! in your community animation MP4 HD 720p 22 MB
Rabies Awareness – Keep a Top Watch! in your community animation MP4 SD 540p 13 MB
Rabies Awareness – Keep a Top Watch! in your community animation MP4 SD 360p 7 MB
Transcript - Rabies Awareness – Keep a Top Watch! in your community animation DOCX N/A 22 KB

Rabies risk pathways and clinical information

  • Rabies is present in more than 100 countries across the world, causing 60,000 human deaths each year, almost all of them in Africa and Asia and many of them young children.
  • The rabies disease can affect all warm blooded animals, including humans.
  • Dog bites are the most common way humans become infected with the rabies virus.
  • Once infected with the virus, signs of the disease can show anywhere between 10 days and several months.
  • Once signs of the disease start to show, death usually occurs within 10 days. 
  • The signs of rabies can show in two different ways:
    • ‘Furious’ rabies – a dog’s behaviour will suddenly become more aggressive, including biting.
    • ‘Dumb’ rabies – a dog will change its behaviour and may become quieter and act ‘dumb’. A dog may bark at nothing and bite and chew objects.
    • A dog will have lots of spit (more than usual) around the mouth.
  • Humans and dogs can be vaccinated to prevent being infected by rabies.
  • As rabies is present and spreading through Indonesia to our north, it is becoming more likely that it will eventually reach our shores.
  • If rabies spreads into West Papua and across into Papua New Guinea, there is a greater risk rabies could enter Australia through Torres Strait.
  • There is also a risk of yachts carrying rabies infected dogs from Indonesia landing on Australian’s northern coastline and mixing with dingoes and community cats and dogs.

Large parts of the northern Australian coastline have very few people. There are lots of community dogs, dingoes and other wild dogs in and around remote communities. If these dogs became infected with rabies, they would be a huge threat to the health and safety of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in northern Australia communities.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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