© Tomas Stargardter
The main route of rabies transmission is the bite of rabid dogs

Rabies is a zoonosis (a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans) that is caused by a virus. It is known to be present in more than 150 countries and territories of all continents except Antarctica.

Rabies is a 100% preventable disease. Infection causes tens of thousands of deaths every year despite the fact that we have all of the tools to manage the disease. Children are the most effected , with four out of every ten deaths by rabies being a child under the age of 15.

Rabies is wide-spread and potentially threatens over 3 billion people in Asia and Africa, where people most at risk live in rural areas with very limited or no access to human vaccines and immunoglobulins.

fact buffet


150countries and territories on all continents except Antarctica endemic for rabies

WHO Expert Consultation on Rabies (TRS 982)


Highrisk of contracting rabies in rural areas in endemic countries

Global distribution of risk to humans of contracting rabies, 2011

Vaccination Costs

60–80%savings associated with intradermal vs intramuscular standard vaccination

WHO recommendations for post-exposure prophylaxis


  • Rabies
    Fact Sheet No. 99, Updated September 2014

Second WHO report on Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)

WHO–Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation joint project

Human rabies prevention through dog rabies elimination in selected developing countries. A project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and coordinated by WHO.

Rabies in the news

26 May 2014 | Geneva
A shortage of funds for vaccinating dogs is costing the lives of tens of thousands of children every year