© Tomas Stargardter
The main route of rabies transmission is the bite of rabid dogs

Rabies is a zoonosis (a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans) that is caused by a virus. It is known to be present in more than 150 countries and territories of all continents except Antarctica.

Rabies is a 100% preventable disease. Around 60 000 people die annually from rabies despite the fact that we have all of the tools to prevent and manage the disease. Children are the most effected by the disease, with four out of every ten deaths by rabies being a child under the age of 15. Furthermore, rabies is a wide-spread disease and potentially threatens over 3 billion people in Asia and Africa, where the people most at risk live in rural areas where human vaccines and immunoglobulin are not readily available or accessible.

fact buffet


~60 000people die of rabies every year, mostly in Asia and Africa

WHO Expert Consultation on Rabies (TRS 982)


Highrisk of contracting rabies in rural areas in endemic countries

Global distribution of risk to humans of contracting rabies, 2011

Vaccination Costs

60–80%savings associated with intradermal vs intramuscular standard vaccination

WHO recommendations for post-exposure prophylaxis


  • Rabies
    Fact Sheet No. 99, Updated July 2013

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.

Rabies in the news

26 May 2014 | Geneva
A shortage of funds for vaccinating dogs is costing the lives of tens of thousands of children every year

8 July 2013 | Paris
Announcement. Workshop on surveillance and control of rabies. Dakar (Senegal), 3–14 December 2013

4 July 2013 │Geneva
Report of the WHO Expert Consultation on Rabies, 18–20 September 2012

29 August 2012 | York (UK)
First International Conference on Dog Population Management, York (UK), 4–8 September 2012. | The Food & Environment Research Agency