The World Veterinary Association (WVA) and World Medical Association (WMA) have called for the total elimination of dog-transmitted human rabies by 2030.
The two organisations have joined forces to mark World Rabies Day today, in collaboration with the Rabies: Share the Message - Save a Life campaign of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control.
An estimated 60 000 people die from rabies each year, mainly poorer people and children between the ages of 5 and 15. About 97% of deaths are attributable to dog bites.
Notifications and reporting of animal bites are generally not required in the countries in which these bites occur, leading to unreliable data on animal bites.
The WVA and WMA said the global nature of rabies could also be attributed to lack of awareness of preventive measures, such as wound washing after a bite, poor knowledge of proper post-exposure prophylaxis through vaccination, and lack of administration of immunoglobulins.