September 28th

World Rabies Day -

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World Rabies Day is an international awareness campaign with the goal of preventing human deaths from rabies and advancing worldwide rabies prevention efforts. The day is observed annually on September 28th, which marks the anniversary of the death of Louis Pasteur, the French chemist and microbiologist who developed the first rabies vaccine along with his colleagues. World Rabies Day serves as a platform to highlight progress in the fight against rabies, to raise awareness about the impact of the disease, and to educate communities on how to prevent it.

The day also encourages collaboration among various stakeholders including government agencies, veterinary, public health, and animal welfare organizations, and engages them in a global conversation to achieve the ultimate goal of eliminating human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030, as endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

History of World Rabies Day

World Rabies Day is a collective initiative spearheaded by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) to put an end to fatalities caused by canine rabies by the year 2030. This day of awareness takes place on September 28th in honor of Louis Pasteur, who created the first successful vaccine for rabies. Pasteur’s work laid the foundation for modern-day rabies prevention efforts. The day is marked globally to spread the message about the prevention of rabies, to enhance control strategies, and to celebrate the strides taken towards eradicating this dread disease.

In 2007, the world saw the inception of World Rabies Day, a light in the fight against the shadow of this fatal illness. It serves as an educational beacon, encouraging vaccination drives, spreading knowledge, and uniting a variety of stakeholders in the common purpose of rabies eradication. Be it pet owners, public officials, or healthcare workers, the message of rabies prevention is relevant across all strata of society.

The impact of this observance has been profound. Not only has it better informed individuals about rabies and the necessary preventative measures they can take, but it has also paved the way for more sophisticated systems for keeping track of the disease, more widespread vaccination of dogs, and improved access to life-saving treatments following rabies exposure.

World Rabies Day Timeline

First Rabies-Like Symptoms Described

The first known description of symptoms that resemble rabies appears in the Eshnunna codex, from what is now Iraq.

Roman Scholar Describes Rabies

Celsus, a Roman encyclopaedist, provides a clinical description of rabies.

Development of Stray Dog Controls

Marco Polo observes Chinese authorities implement strict controls and removal of rabid dogs to control rabies in the empire.

Louis Pasteur Administers Rabies Vaccine to a Human

Pasteur and his colleagues successfully administer the first rabies vaccination to Joseph Meister, a boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog.

Tissue Culture Vaccines Developed

Tissue culture vaccines, which are safer and more effective, are developed and start to replace nerve tissue vaccines for rabies.

Oral Rabies Vaccination for Wildlife

Oral rabies vaccinations begin to be used for wild animal populations to control the spread of the disease in wildlife reservoirs.

First World Rabies Day

The Global Alliance for Rabies Control establishes World Rabies Day to raise awareness about the impact of rabies and how to prevent it.

Continued Awareness and Vaccination Efforts

World Rabies Day continues to serve as a platform for education, resources, and coordination in the ongoing effort to eliminate rabies.

Ideas to Celebrate World Rabies Day

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Educate to Eliminate

Host an educational seminar or webinar with local veterinarians and health officials to raise awareness about rabies prevention and control strategies. Focus on educating pet owners, school children, and community members about the importance of vaccinations and responsible pet ownership.

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Vaccination Drive

Organize a free or discounted rabies vaccination clinic for pets in partnership with local veterinary clinics. Promote the event widely to ensure high participation, offering stickers or certificates to pet owners who have their pets vaccinated on this day.

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Pet Owner Workshop

Set up a workshop for pet owners to learn more about rabies, how to spot signs of the disease in animals, necessary preventative measures such as neutering, and proper animal handling and care. Include interactive Q&A sessions with animal health experts.

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Rabies Myth-Busting Campaign

Create a social media campaign to dispel common myths about rabies. Share infographics, videos, and fact sheets that provide accurate information, debunking myths and spreading reliable prevention messages. Use a specific hashtag to track the campaign's reach.

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Paws for the Cause

Invite pet owners and their pets to a special 'Paws for the Cause' event where they can partake in various pet-friendly activities. Alongside fun and games, include educational booths where attendees can learn about rabies and the significance of World Rabies Day.

7 Interesting Facts About Rabies


A Global Concern with a High Fatality Rate

Rabies is found on all continents except Antarctica, but more than 95% of human deaths occur in Asia and Africa. Once symptoms have appeared, rabies is nearly always fatal.


Transmission Through Saliva

Rabies is commonly transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. The virus is present in the saliva of the infected host and can be introduced into a new host through broken skin or mucous membranes.


‘Furious’ vs. ‘Paralytic’ Rabies

There are two forms of rabies: Furious rabies, which leads to hyperactivity and hydrophobia, and paralytic rabies, which manifests as a more gradual paralysis leading to a coma. Both forms eventually cause death if untreated.


The Long Incubation Period

Rabies has a remarkably long incubation period—the time from exposure to onset of symptoms can vary from a few weeks to several months or even longer, which allows a window for post-exposure prophylaxis (preventative treatment) to be effective if administered in time.


Vaccine Pioneer - Louis Pasteur

The first successful rabies vaccination was developed by Louis Pasteur in 1885. Using a weakened form of the virus, Pasteur’s vaccine was administered to a boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog, saving his life and marking a major advance in medical science.


An Ounce of Prevention

Rabies prevention includes vaccinating pets and domestic animals, staying away from wild animals, and seeking immediate medical care after potential exposure through an animal bite or scratch.


Vampire Bats and Rabies

In Latin America, vampire bats are a significant reservoir for rabies, transmitting the virus to both livestock and humans, which poses a chronic risk to rural communities involved with farming.

World Rabies Day FAQs

Next World Rabies Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 September 28th Thursday
2024 September 28th Saturday
2025 September 28th Sunday
2026 September 28th Monday
2027 September 28th Tuesday
What is the pattern? Every September 28th

World Rabies Day Word Search

  • Rabies
  • Vaccine
  • Awareness
  • Prevention
  • Virus
  • Wildlife