Rabies is still a threat—but experts say it doesn’t have to be that way
Though we know how to prevent it, the virus kills about 60,000 people a year. Here’s what you need to know.
Rabies surprised public health officials earlier this year when a wild red fox bit nine people—including a United States congressman—in Washington, D.C. Within a day, a D.C. public health lab confirmed that the fox, which had been euthanized, had tested positive for the deadly disease.
Rabies kills about 60,000 people every year worldwide, particularly in rural parts of Africa and Asia. Primarily spread through animal bites, the disease is virtually 100 percent fatal once symptoms set in.
“We tend to think of it as this disease from the past, but someone dies of it every 10 minutes around the world,” says Katie Hampson, professor of biodiversity, animal health, and comparative medicine at the University