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USDA Wildlife Services Video Shares Images of Daily Work to Manage Rabies

The U. S. Department of Agriculture’s National Rabies Management Program (NRMP) has released a video in support of World Rabies Day, September 28, a global day of action and awareness for rabies prevention. A unit in the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the rabies program works to stop the spread of rabies in land-dwelling wildlife and eventually to eliminate rabies in wildlife populations. 

Every day NRMP biologists, specialists, and scientists undertake work to protect the public, wildlife, pets and the Nation’s food supply. These federal employees wanted to highlight their support of World Rabies Day by creating a video to share their story. Rather than a standard governmental video, the team sought to communicate what they do and why - in an informal and homespun way – and invite the public to join them in a united effort to manage rabies. Watch:  United To Control Wildlife Rabies.

This year’s 14th World Rabies Day theme focuses on vaccination and collaboration, hallmarks of Wildlife Services’ NRMP work. We coordinate with state and local agencies, from Maine to Alabama, distributing millions of oral rabies vaccines and conducting surveillance to create a barrier zone to the westward expansion of the raccoon variety of rabies. Oral rabies vaccines are currently being distributed in Massachusetts on the Cape Cod peninsula and in parts of Virginia to Alabama in October.  ( 2020 ORV Efforts press release)   

Rabies remains a significant wildlife management challenge in the U.S. impacting human and animal health. In the U.S. each year, more than 90% of all reported rabies cases occur in wildlife. Up to 60,000 people each year are exposed to potentially rabid animals in the U.S., with the cost of rabies prevention and control estimated to exceed $600 million a year. 

World Rabies Day is sponsored by the non-profit Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), a small organization committed to saving lives from one of the world’s deadliest diseases, which kills more than 59,000 people annually. A science-led approach, coordination and the promotion of collaboration between animal and human health remain central to GARC actions and activities.

The National Rabies Management Program was established in 1997 with the goal of managing rabies in wildlife. The video also is available on the APHIS YouTube channel.

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