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FOR RELEASE: September 5 , 2007
World Rabies Day is September 8
Human rabies is 100 percent preventable, yet there are an estimated 55,000 human deaths a year from rabies worldwide, primarily transmitted from rabid dogs to humans. This year, a global initiative is underway to raise awareness about rabies during World Rabies Day, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007. Human rabies is quite rare in the United States and no human deaths from contact with a rabid animal have occurred in Oklahoma since 1981 when a 27-year-old man died after being bitten by a rabid skunk.
However, rabies in animals continues to be a problem in Oklahoma. During 2006, there were 69 cases of rabies in animals, which included 50 skunks, six bovine (cattle), five horses, four cats, three bats and one dog. So far in 2007, rabies has been diagnosed in 65 animals in Oklahoma.
Effective rabies prevention programs for dog vaccination, licensing and the control of stray dogs, along with the development of modern human rabies post-exposure prophylaxis, has led to the elimination of dog-to-dog rabies transmission in the United States. Nonetheless, worldwide, rabies in dogs is the main source of human rabies mortality in Asia, Africa, and South America.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reminds all pet owners that keeping pets and valuable livestock up-to-date on rabies vaccinations is the most effective and inexpensive way of reducing one’s risk of exposure to rabies.
To raise awareness and funds for rabies control, the Oklahoma Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association is sponsoring a 5K “Run for Rabies” race on Saturday, Sept. 8, beginning at 7:45 a.m. at Boomer Lake in Stillwater. Proceeds from the run will go to the Alliance for Rabies Control.
During the 5K Run for Rabies event, the OSU Veterinary Medicine students and other groups will be hosting booths and interactive displays where information on rabies and other pet-related topics can be obtained.
For more information about the 5K Run for Rabies, or to register, visit http://www.cvhs.okstate.edu or contact Jennifer Moreno at Jennifer.Moreno@okstate.edu or call (405) 334-1524.
For information about rabies or the vaccination of family pets, contact your local veterinarian or the county health department in your area.
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