The fight against rabies – World Rabies Day 2020

Foto: pexels/Kat Jayne

Foto: pexels/Kat Jayne  1

Rabies is a rare but extremely dangerous infectious disease that, if left untreated, is fatal for humans. It is true that rabies has been eradicated in Austria thanks to successful rabies control since 2008. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of people worldwide die from the virus infection every year. The international World Rabies Day on September 28 is a reminder that while much has been achieved in the fight against rabies, a lot remains to be done.  Vetmeduni Vienna is drawing attention to this with a photo competition on Instagram under the hashtag # WRDvetmeduni2020.

Rabies is a viral infection caused by the rabies virus. The disease is a zoonosis - this means that the virus (rabies virus, genus of lyssaviruses) can be transmitted from animals (e.g. fox, dog, etc.) to humans and vice versa. Globally, more than 95% of human rabies infections are the result of a bite by an infected dog. Once in the human body, the rabies virus attacks the nervous system and can cause encephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain and meninges). For humans, rabies almost always ends fatally after the outbreak.

Protection for animals and humans through vaccination

A rabies vaccine is the only means in the fight against this life-threatening disease. A timely vaccination before or immediately after the bite by or contact with a rabid animal can prevent infection with the rabies virus and the outbreak of the disease. Dogs can be vaccinated prophylactically. Thanks to the development of the rabies vaccine and the successful vaccination of fox populations, Austria, like many other European countries, has been free from terrestrial rabies since 2008 (more information on this on the AGES information page 2). The Austrian rabies monitoring programme helps to maintain this status.

Worldwide education necessary

Experts advocate for strengthening vaccination morale worldwide with regard to rabies prevention so that infections with the rabies virus can be prevented.  “Rabies is incurable, but preventable. The disease is still a problem, especially in developing countries - tens of thousands of people die every year around the world. Children in particular, but adults too, die a painful death here, ”says Annika Posautz from the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology (FIWI) at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. According to estimates by the WHO (World Health Organization), around 59,000 people die of rabies worldwide every year. The majority of deaths from rabies affect developing countries in Asia (56%) and Africa (44%).

Rabies deaths are a direct result of poverty and inequality in access to medical resources for animals and humans. “We have the knowledge, technology and vaccines to end human deaths from dog-borne rabies around the world. Now we have the chance to raise awareness and work together around the world to empower those affected so that together we can create a world in which nobody, no matter how poor, dies of rabies, ”emphasizes Anna Haw, wildlife veterinarian at FIWI.

World Rabies Day 2020

The aim of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control' 3s worldwide campaign for World Rabies Day is to raise awareness of the dangers of rabies while at the same time providing information on how to prevent the virus infection. There should be no more human deaths from dog-borne rabies from 2030. World Rabies Day was first launched on September 28, 2007 to commemorate the death of the scientist Louis Pasteur. Pasteur developed the first vaccine against rabies and thus laid the foundation for rabies prevention.

Insta photo competition "End Rabies: Collaborate, Vaccinate"

The Vetmeduni Vienna is raising awareness of the subject of rabies as part of a photo competition on Instagram under the motto of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control "End Rabies: Collaborate, Vaccinate".

As a prelude, an Instawalk took place on August 30th in cooperation with Instagramers Vienna (@igersvienna) 4 - in this context, wildlife experts Anna Haw, Annika Posautz and Friederike Pohlin conveyed the importance of the topic to the participants and answered questions about it.


All photos posted by Instagram users with public profiles between September 1 and 28, 2020 (World Rabies Day) under the hashtag #WRDvetmeduni2020 will automatically take part in the competition. Participants are encouraged to describe their intention or the background of the submitted picture in the posting text.

Note: Submissions from non-public profiles cannot be judged, as they are not visible to the jury. The submitting persons must own the copyrights to the image. Publication of the picture must not infringe any rights of third parties.

Other hashtags / handles that can be used to raise awareness:

#CollaborateVaccinate #vetmedunivienna #WorldRabiesDay @vetmedunivienna @rabiesalliance

At the beginning of October, an expert jury (consisting of Instagramers Vienna as well as photographers and wildlife experts from Vetmeduni Vienna) will select the top 10 submissions. The results will be announced at the end of October via the Vetmeduni Vienna Instagram account.

The winners will receive some of the following prizes:

The top 3 pictures will be exhibited in the auditorium of the Vetmeduni Vienna for the next six months with credit to the photographers.

1st place:

    - Presentation of the picture in the Aula of the Vetmeduni Vienna

    - Presentation of the picture in VETMED magazine as "picture of the issue"

    - A photo print from "Prints for Wildlife 5" (fundraising campaign for Support of African parks 6)

2nd place:

    - Presentation of the picture in the auditorium of the Vetmeduni Vienna

    - A subscription to the Austrian magazine FALTER 7 for free for 6 months

3rd place:

    - Presentation of the picture in the auditorium of the Vetmeduni Vienna

    - Vetmeduni Vienna hoodie

4th -10th place: Upcycling bags made from flags of the Vetmeduni Vienna by Anne Hermine 8 , vouchers for "A Revolution Fitness 9",

      Book „Im Schatten des Turms 10“ by René Anour, Buch „Im Zeichen des Äquinoktiums 11“ by Peter Steiger

Many thanks to the sponsors: Vetmeduni Vienna & Research Institute for Wildlife Ecology, FALTER, A Revolution Fitness, René Anour, Peter Steiger.


To the press release 12

on )

Kategorie: Home page, Press release