Today is World Rabies Day. Scientists, public health professionals, veterinarians, wildlife biologists, and others from around the globe will celebrate World Rabies Day by raising awareness about efforts to rid the world of rabies. Rabies is one of the oldest known diseases, yet it remains a significant wildlife management and public health challenge.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proud to support efforts to eliminate this deadly disease through its Wildlife Services (WS) and Veterinary Services (VS) programs.
APHIS Activities Related to Rabies
- WS’ National Rabies Management Program works to reduce rabies in wildlife. Since 1995, WS rabies biologists have worked cooperatively with local, State, and Federal agencies, universities, and other partners to prevent the spread of wildlife rabies in the United States through the delivery of oral rabies vaccines (ORV) to wild animals, particularly raccoons, coyotes, and gray foxes. In 2010, WS distributed more than 8.8 million ORV baits across approximately 75,500 square miles in 18 states. In addition to working toward eliminating rabies where it already exists, WS cooperates with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and State agencies to conduct enhanced rabies surveillance to facilitate better rabies management decision making.
- WS’ National Wildlife Research Center scientists provide expertise to help improve vaccine delivery and effectiveness, rabies monitoring methods, and our understanding of rabies and wildlife ecology.
- At the VS’ Center for Veterinary Biologics in Ames, Iowa, employees are responsible for implementing the provisions of the Virus-Serum-Toxin Act. This act assures that pure, safe, potent and effective vaccines and other biologics are available for the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of animal diseases. As such, VS regulates and licenses rabies vaccines for use in companion animals, livestock, and wildlife. Currently, there are approximately 30 unique licensed products for rabies (killed or recombinant vaccines).
For more information, please visit the following APHIS websites:
National Rabies Management Program Overview
Ecology, Control, and Prevention of Terrestrial Rabies in Free-Ranging Wildlife