Wednesday, September 28th 2016 was World Rabies Day and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is taking the opportunity to highlight the importance of continuing vigilance against rabies.
Ireland is fortunate to have been rabies free since 1903, but as rabies cases have been reported in pets and wildlife in Europe in recent years, Ireland is not free from risk.
The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) estimate that approximately 60,000 people across the world die every year from rabies and that Rabies is still endemic in 150 countries/territories worldwide. Most human deaths 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.
The Department emphasises that Irish citizens can play their part in achieving this vision. Whilst the risk to Ireland is considered low, increasing animal movement across Europe means that we in Ireland must remain vigilant.
The illegal importation of dogs, cats or other pets is the most likely way that rabies could be introduced. If you are travelling with pets within the EU (including the UK) or importing pets into Ireland, it is a legal requirement for them to be vaccinated against rabies. Full details can be found on the Department’s website at the following link: