On the 28th September 2018 the Turks and Caicos Islands joined the global community for the first time to commemorate World Rabies Day. World Rabies Day is a global campaign to help prevent the spread of one of the most fatal zoonotic diseases in the world. This day of action and awareness for rabies prevention is acknowledged annually on September 28th and is facilitated by the international charity, Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC). World Rabies Day, was initiated by GARC in 2007 to create a global opportunity for people to unite and increase awareness of rabies prevention. The theme for this year was, “Share the message. Save a life”, as it reflects the fundamental principle of increasing awareness of rabies in saving the lives of people and animals by preventing rabies deaths.
Rabies is a deadly viral disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord of mammals, including humans. It is a zoonotic disease meaning that it can be transmitted from humans to animals. The virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and is usually transmitted by animal bites and scratches. It spreads to the nervous system and eventually to the brain causing inflammation. The signs of rabies in animals include aggression or confusion, abnormal behaviour, excessive salivation, difficulty eating or drinking, weakness, paralysis and eventual death. Rabies is 100% preventable but continues to cause death and suffering to people and animals with about 59,000 human rabies cases worldwide each year, most of which are transmitted by dogs.
Through the continued efforts and stringent prevention programmes by the Department of Agriculture, the Turks and Caicos Islands continues to maintain its Internationally recognized “Rabies free status”. As part of the Department’s awareness drive, an information segment highlighting “Rabies” would be aired on the programme “Agriculture Today” on Tuesday 9th October 2018 at 9 am on Radio Turks and Caicos on 89.1 FM.