Rabies is an acute, fatal viral disease that infects domestic and wild animals and is transmissible to humans. Worldwide, rabies kills over 55,000 people every year. The domestic dog plays a pivotal role in rabies transmission. Domestic dogs are not only part of our daily lives but also of our immediate surroundings, and this is reflected in the rise in pet dog ownership in developed and developing countries. This is important given that more frequent exposures and interactions at the animal-human interface increases the likelihood of contracting zoonotic diseases of companion animals. Despite existing vaccines and post-exposure prophylactic treatment, rabies remains a neglected disease that is poorly controlled throughout much of the developing world, particularly Africa and Asia, where most human rabies deaths occur. It is believed that with sustained international commitments, global elimination of rabies from domestic dog populations, the most dangerous vector to humans, is a realistic goal.
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