Epidemiology and burden of disease

A very wide distribution

Human rabies is present in 150 countries and territories and on all continents, except for Antarctica. Tens of thousands of people die each year from rabies.

Globally, estimates indicate that human mortality (due to endemic canine-mediated rabies) is highest in Asia, with the highest incidence and deaths reported in India. This is closely followed by Africa, however estimates of burden have always been uncertain due to the absence of reliable data.

More investigation into the scale of the burden of rabies in the Middle East and Central Asia is required, where minimal information is available.

Latin America and the Caribbean have had a substantial reduction in the number of human and animal rabies cases following the implementation of dog rabies control programmes. Official reports of cases of human rabies transmitted by dogs decreased from about 250 in 1990 to fewer than 10 in 2010. The Pan American Health Organization has set a target to eliminate dog-mediated rabies from the Americas by 2015.

Country profiles