Pamela Scharfe, Chair
15th Annual World Rabies: “Rabies: Facts, not Fear”
Facts: Facts are essential for raising disease awareness, preventing rabies cases, having the animal population vaccinated, and educating people about the dangers of rabies and how to prevent it. Without facts we would not have data for decision-makers to inform them of the serious nature of the disease. We would not be able to advocate for its elimination and the burden of the disease would remain unknown, resulting in tens of thousands of people and animals continuing to die from rabies each year. Let us use facts to raise awareness and educate others about rabies – a 99% fatal, yet 100% preventable disease.
Fear: The word “fear” has three meanings in this year’s theme. Firstly, it relates to the general fear caused by rabies, the fear people experience when encountering rabid animals, and the fear that people live with in communities plagued by rabies. The second meaning relates directly to the symptom of fear that people may experience when infected with rabies. Lastly, fear relates to the fear caused by ‘fake news’ or myths about rabies – making people afraid of vaccination, making people afraid to get their animals sterilized or vaccinated, and making people believe in ineffective treatments for the disease.
(SOURCE: World Health Organization)