© National Rabies Elimination Program Bangladesh
Red collars signal vaccinated dogs

Rabies is a neglected zoonotic disease (a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans), caused by the rabies virus of the genus Lyssavirus. With the exception of Antarctica, the disease is present on all continents. The highest case incidence occurs in Asia and Africa, where rabies potentially threatens over 4.5 billion people.

Rabies is a 100% vaccine-preventable disease. However, despite the availability of tools to manage the disease, rabies still kills 35 000 to 59 000 humans every year. The disease disproportionately affects poor, low-resource communities, particularly children with 4 out of every 10 human deaths by rabies occurring in children younger than 15 years.

fact buffet


150With the exception of Antarctica, human rabies is present in 150 countries and territories, on all continents

WHO Expert Consultation on Rabies (TRS 982)


Highrisk of contracting rabies, particularly in rural areas of endemic countries

Global distribution of risk to humans of contracting rabies, 2013

Vaccination Costs

60–80%cost savings associated with use of intradermal vs intramuscular vaccines for prophylaxis

WHO recommendations for post-exposure prophylaxis


  • Rabies
    Fact Sheet No. 99, Updated September 2015

Second WHO report on Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)

WHO–Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation joint project

Human rabies prevention through dog rabies elimination in selected developing countries. A project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and coordinated by WHO.

World Rabies Day 2015

28 September 2015 | Worldwide

Workshop on surveillance and control of rabies
Pasteur Institute, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. October 26 – November 7, 2015

Rabies in the news

09 February 2015 | Geneva
Sixth meeting of the International Coordinating Group (ICG) of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation–World Health Organization project on eliminating human and dog rabies. Durban, South Africa, 22–24 September 2014