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Reduce rabies deaths and collaborate with vets, says major new study

A global study has found that 160 people die every day from rabies. Even though the disease is preventable, around 59,000 people die every year of rabies transmitted by dogs.

Rabies is close to 100% fatal, but it is also almost 100% preventable, and the best, most cost-effective way of preventing canine rabies is by vaccinating dogs and improving access to human vaccines.

According to the report, if vets and doctors can collaborate on this it could save many lives and significantly reduce the burden on vulnerable economies.

The study finds that overwhelmingly the greatest risk of canine rabies is in the poorest countries; the death rate is highest in countries in sub-Saharan Africa, while India has the highest number of fatalities, with more than 20,000 human deaths annually.

Revealingly, the countries that have invested most in dog vaccination are the ones where human deaths from the disease have been virtually eliminated. Across almost all of Africa and Asia the proportion of dogs vaccinated is far below that necessary to control the disease.