Epidemiology and burden of disease

A very wide distribution

Tens of thousands of people die each year from rabies.

Latin America and the Caribbean have had a substantial reduction in the number of human and animal rabies cases following the implementation of dog rabies control programmes. Official reports of cases of human rabies transmitted by dogs decreased from about 250 in 1990 to fewer than 10 in 2010. The Pan American Health Organization has set a target to eliminate dog-mediated rabies from the Americas by 2015.

More information on the initiative

Globally, estimates indicate that human mortality (due to endemic canine-mediated rabies) is highest in Asia, with the highest incidence and deaths reported in India. This is closely followed by Africa, however estimates of burden have always been uncertain due to the absence of reliable data.

More investigation into the scale of the burden of rabies in the Middle East and Central Asia is required, where minimal information is available.

Country profiles

Global Conference - ‘Global elimination of dog-mediated human rabies - The Time Is Now’
Date: 10–11 December 2015
Venue: Event Department, Graduate Institute, Maison de la Paix, Geneva
The meeting will analyse elimination of dog-transmitted rabies and explore global expansion of control and elimination programmes through an inter-sectoral approach.

World Rabies Day

28 September 2015 | Worldwide

In the news
Effective vaccination against rabies in puppies in rabies endemic regions
8 August 2015 | Geneva

Mass dog vaccination project aims to prevent child rabies
30 May 2015 | Geneva

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