On World Rabies Day (today, Friday 28) Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed is warning that Ireland is not free from the risk of rabies, despite the country being free from the disease since 1903 and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine having policies in place to maintain this freedom.
With cases having been reported in pets and wildlife in Europe in recent years, the Minister is highlighting the importance of continuing vigilance against rabies in line with the theme of the day, which is, 'Rabies: share the message, save a life'. World Rabies Day is organised by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control.
"The risk to Ireland from rabies is low, but increasing movements of animals into and throughout Europe means that we must remain vigilant. Everyone in Ireland has a part to play - the most likely way rabies could be introduced into the country is through the importation of dogs, cats or ferrets. All dogs, cats and ferrets entering Ireland must be vaccinated against rabies before they arrive. Rabies is a notifiable disease in Ireland. This means that if you suspect an animal is affected by rabies, you must notify the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine immediately, by contacting your local regional veterinary office.
Rabies is one of the most deadly zoonotic diseases worldwide, and kills nearly 60,000 people, annually, and that rabies is still endemic in 150 countries/territories worldwide. The aim of World Rabies Day is to help in the fight to eliminate all human deaths from canine mediated rabies by 2030. Events are being organised worldwide by participating organisations to help raise awareness.
Did you know?
• Most human deaths are due to dog bites and occur in children in developing countries. The majority of these deaths are preventable by increasing public awareness and access to canine rabies vaccine.
• Rabies eradication requires a multidisciplinary effort between health, veterinary and local authorities. By working together rabies can be eliminated for good.
• In 2015 the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), World Health Organisation (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with partners, the Global Alliance for the Control of Rabies (GARC) announced their framework for eliminating rabies by 2030.
• A European Commission video entitled ‘EU pet passports and the fight against rabies’ can be found https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyJkA4tk5OU
For more information: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/animalhealthwelfare/diseasecontrol/rabies/