While rabies isn’t a major problem in the United States (only 1 person died from the disease in 2013), globally the virus remains a major problem. There are still more than 69,000 people die annually from rabies worldwide.
For a preventable disease, that’s a major problem.
That’s why some scientists, like Dr. Guy Palmer, are working on ways to eliminate those risk factors. One of the major methods being thrown around? Mass vaccinations of domesticated dogs.
While rabies can appear in a wide variety of different animals, the prevailing risk comes from domesticated dogs. In all countries, it’s theorized that if we could coordinate mass vaccinations of dogs, the virus would be nearly wiped out.
In an article published by Dr. Palmer, in Science magazine, he points to a 2009 study that found vaccinating 70% of dogs in Tanzania was enough to completely eliminate rabies transmissions from dogs to humans.
It’s also important to remember that rabies is curable in humans. When the disease is met with treatment early enough, almost 100% of cases are treatable.