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When Is World Rabies Day? 2023 Update & Health Tips

Grant Piper

By Grant Piper

cat vaccination

Rabies is one of the scariest diseases in the world. It is a virus that affects the mental state of those who become infected. Rabies can be treated if caught early, but if you wait too long, the disease becomes entrenched and untreatable. People and animals suffering from rabies show signs of increased aggression, agitation, and a strange aversion to water. Some people have called it the zombie disease.

While rabies has become increasingly rare and under control in the developed world, it is still a huge problem in the developing world. Rabies is a preventable disease that has drawn a lot of focus from global health organizations. Rabies can be eliminated if people work together toward a common goal. That is what World Rabies Day is all about.

When is World Rabies Day? How can you participate? What if you missed World Rabies Day this year? As a quick glance, World Rabies Day is observed annually on September 28th. This quick guide will cover all of that and more. With help from the public, people can make rabies a thing of the past.

When Is World Rabies Day?

The theme of 2023’s World Rabies Day was “All for 1, One Health For All.” This theme highlights the fact that global health should not be reserved for a select few. Freedom from rabies, the devastating effects of the disease, and the fear it can cause in a community should be something that everyone has access to. Each year, World Rabies Day carries a theme regarding awareness, prevention, and equity in the global health community.

different breeds of dogs
Image Credit: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock

When Did World Rabies Day Start?

World Rabies Day started in 2007. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Rabies Day was started to “raise awareness about the world’s deadliest infectious disease and bring together partners to enhance prevention and control efforts worldwide.”

Why Is World Rabies Day on September 28th?

One of the principal reasons that World Rabies Day is observed on September 28th is because that is the date of Louis Pasteur’s death. Louis Pasteur was one of the most influential scientists in human history. In addition to developing pasteurization methods, Pasteur also developed the very first rabies vaccine. Rabies vaccination has changed the face of global health and has reduced the reach and effects of rabies worldwide.

Pasteur studied rabies in both animals and humans and managed to prevent dogs and children from developing the fatal disease after injecting them with suspended spinal fluids that contained small amounts of the virus. This was a massive breakthrough in public health and virology. Pasteur’s work was extra impressive because, in the 19th century, viruses could not be viewed with a microscope. The first virus would not be observed until 1935, with widespread viewing of viruses not occurring until the 1960s.

Due to Pasteur’s groundbreaking work on rabies vaccination, World Rabies Day is observed on September 28th to honor one of science’s greatest minds.

dog getting a vaccine
Image Credit: Syda Productions, Shutterstock

How to Participate in World Rabies Day

World Rabies Day is all about education, awareness, and prevention of rabies in the global population. While rabies has been largely eliminated in the United States, it is still a massive problem around the world. Each year, 59,000 people still die from rabies, mostly in the least developed countries. World Rabies Day aims to eliminate rabies from these vulnerable communities. You can participate by reading educational materials, sharing the World Health Organization’s (WHO) plan to eliminate rabies by the year 2030, and encouraging people to vaccinate their pets for rabies. Vaccinating dogs and cats is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of rabies throughout the human population.

Rabies is a 100% preventable disease, according to the CDC, which means that eliminating rabies is all about education and awareness. Vaccinations, smart travel, animal avoidance, and timely treatment can all slowly eliminate this fatal disease from the global population.


World Rabies Day occurs every year on September 28th in honor of Louis Pasteur. The day focuses on spreading awareness and education about rabies. Rabies is preventable, and the more people know and work towards preventing rabies, the fewer cases will become fatal in the future. The WHO believes rabies can be eliminated by 2030 if people work together. That is what World Rabies Day is all about, every September 28th.


Featured Image Credit: bmf-foto.de, Shutterstock

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