By Miroslav Djuric, DVM, CAB International, Wallingford, UK.
Lyme disease or Lyme borreliosis is the most prevalent arthropod-borne disease of animals and humans in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere1. Risk of infection in humans is primarily associated with occupation (e.g. forestry work) or outdoor recreational activities.
Recent surveys show that the overall prevalence of Lyme disease may be stabilizing, but its geographical distribution is increasing. There are foci of Lyme borreliosis in forested areas of Asia, north-western, central and eastern Europe, and the USA. According to the CDC, Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector borne disease in the United States. It is most commonly diagnosed in the northeast and upper Midwest, especially Wisconsin and Minnesota. However, Lyme disease is spreading geographically, especially into Virginia and the southeastern United States. The CDC estimates that about 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year, afflicting sufferers with flu-like symptoms. If not treated with antibiotics, the infection can cause inflammation of the joints and it can affect the heart and nervous system.
Organisations around the world will be aiming to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of rabies prevention on the second annual World Rabies Day on 28 September.
The Alliance for Rabies Control (ARC) is leading World Rabies Day (WRD) initiative, which is sponsored by numerous human and animal health organizations worldwide too. Its aim is to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of rabies prevention, which kills 55,000 people each year, half of which are children under the age of 15 and mostly in Africa and Asia. Its principle objectives are also to enhance education and resources in order to prevent and stop the disease by combating it in animals. Experience has shown that rabies can be successfully eradicated if control programmes are well defined, resourced and implemented, but around 8000 cases are still observed in Europe alone every year, of which about 60% in wildlife and 40% in domestic animals and also some human cases.
During the successful inaugural World Rabies Day 2007, over seventy countries participated through activities such as prevention messages for the public, dog vaccination campaigns, lectures and educational seminars, press conferences, museum and zoo exhibits, parades, festivals, marches, runs or dog walks. This year’s campaign shows promise for participation of even greater number of countries and organizations across the globe.