What do I need to know before I travel?
Public Health Scotland logo

Fit for Travel Logo

Information on how to stay safe and healthy abroad. About us.

World Rabies Day 2021

20 Sep 2021

World Rabies Day is held on 28 September each year to celebrate the anniversary of the death of Louis Pasteur, who was the first person to successfully create a vaccine against rabies.

This year's theme "Rabies: Facts, not Fear" asks people to focus on facts about rabies and not the myths or misconceptions. It reminds us of the key global issues affecting rabies elimination which are:

Fake news and how this can negatively affect attempts to eliminate rabies

  • encouraging people to share accurate facts about rabies
  • making sure that decisions about rabies control are based on the correct, most up to date information

Vaccine hesitancy and the misconceptions about vaccination

  • sharing facts about the benefits of vaccinating animals against rabies
  • ensuring that people who have potentially been exposed to rabies can receive appropriate post-exposure treatment
  • correcting any myths about rabies vaccination to ensure everyone is protected
  • ridding our communities of any fears around vaccination

See the Global Alliance for Rabies Control website for information on how you can get involved with the World Rabies Day campaign.

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a serious viral infection which affects the brain and nerves. The virus is spread through the saliva of infected animals, usually following a bite or scratch.

  • rabies is the deadliest disease on earth with a 99.9% death rate
  • over 5.5 billion people live with the daily risk of rabies
  • there are approximately 59,000 deaths every year
  • over 95% of these deaths are in Africa and Asia, with the majority occurring from rabid dog bites
  • around half of the people who die are children

See the fitfortravel Rabies page for additional information on the disease.