Human rabies transmitted by dogs: current status of global data, 2015

Weekly epidemiological record

WHO/ Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases

Publication details

Editors: Dr B. Abela Ridder/Neglected Zoonotic Diseases
Number of pages: 8 p.
Publication date: 15 January 2016
Languages: English and French
WHO reference number:
No 2, 2016, 91, 13–20



Rabies, a vaccine-preventable viral disease with one of the highest case-fatality rates, close to 100%, continues to kill in many countries of the world. About 95% of the human deaths caused by rabies are due to virus transmission through the bites of infected dogs. In this report, rabies refers specifically to human rabies transmitted by dogs.

Data on rabies are needed to demonstrate the health and socioeconomic burden of disease, evaluate progress of control programmes, detect outbreaks and reintroduction, and ultimately to show the attainment and sustainable maintenance of disease elimination. Data are also necessary for planning operational requirements such as forecasting of vaccine requirements, and to evaluate progress towards roadmap goals. Currently, no global database for human rabies exists.

This report summarizes data related to human rabies from different currently available sources, and briefly discusses quality issues and limitations of such data. For the future, it is proposed that annual reporting of validated country data on rabies should be entered in the WHO Global Health Observatory (GHO) data repository.

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