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World Rabies Day

Many people around the world observe World Rabies Day (WRD), which raises awareness about the impact of rabies and how the disease can be prevented. It is held on September 28 each year. is an annual event on April 7 to draw attention to particular priorities in global health.

Smiling Asian children with their pet dogs.

Awareness issues, such as the importance of pet vaccinations for children's safety, are brought to attention on World Rabies Day.

©iStockphoto.com/Zhang Bo

What Do People Do?

Many communities and organizations around the world, including the World Health Organization (WHO), which is the UN’s directing and coordinating authority for health, and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), actively promote various activities and events that center on World Rabies Day.

Many government agencies and disease control centers that support World Rabies Day produce media kits, including posters, pamphlets, and press releases, to increase awareness about rabies and preventing the disease. Symposiums are also held on or around this time of the year to remember researchers who were pioneers in finding a rabies vaccination. Some associations and clinics offer free pet vaccinations and some organizations host competitions, such as t-shirt design contests to promote the event’s message.

Public Life

World Rabies Day is a global observance but it is not a public holiday.

Background

Rabies is widely distributed across the globe. More than 55,000 people die of rabies each year. About 95 percent of human deaths occur in Asia and Africa, according to WHO. Most human deaths follow a bite from an infected dog. About 30 to 60 percent of dog bite victims are children under the age of 15. There are safe and effective vaccines available for people who have been bitten by an animal that might have the disease, but usage in developing countries is low due to the high cost.

World Rabies Day, which is founded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and GARC, aims to unite relevant partners to address rabies prevention and control. With the initial goal of engaging 55,000 people to take action, one for each person who dies each year from rabies, the inaugural campaign saw nearly 400,000 people from at least 74 countries participating on September 8, 2007. The event was held again in 2008, but on September 28 instead of September 8, and September 28 has been used as the date to promote the event from that year onwards.

More than 393,000 people participated and rabies education messages reached more than 50 million people on World Rabies Day in 2008. The result of this event was that there were enough funds to start grass-roots education and control projects in five countries. Various partners, including WHO and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, support World Rabies Day, which highlights the impact of human and animal rabies and promotes how to prevent and stop the disease by combating it in animals.

Symbols

The World Rabies Day logo features a globe in blue and green, and the green shapes in the globe are that of a bat (left), human (center), and dog or canine figure (right).  The words “World Rabies Day” and the event’s date (month, day and year), typed in black, circle the outer part of the globe. These elements are kept within a black ring, completing the logo.

World Rabies Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2010TueSep 28World Rabies DayUnited Nations observance
2011WedSep 28World Rabies DayUnited Nations observance
2012FriSep 28World Rabies DayUnited Nations observance
2013SatSep 28World Rabies DayUnited Nations observance
2014SunSep 28World Rabies DayUnited Nations observance
2015MonSep 28World Rabies DayUnited Nations observance
2016WedSep 28World Rabies DayUnited Nations observance
2017ThuSep 28World Rabies DayUnited Nations observance
2018FriSep 28World Rabies DayUnited Nations observance
2019SatSep 28World Rabies DayUnited Nations observance
2020MonSep 28World Rabies DayUnited Nations observance

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