Rabies occurs in more than 150 countries and territories. Worldwide, more than 55 000 people die of rabies every year. More than 95% of human deaths occur in Asia and Africa. Once symptoms of the disease develop, rabies is nearly always fatal. 40% of people who are bitten by suspect rabid animals are children under 15 years of age. Dogs are the source of 99% of human rabies deaths.
Wound cleansing and immunization within a few hours after contact with a suspect rabid animal can prevent the onset of rabies and death. Every year, more than 15 million people worldwide receive a post-exposure preventive regimen to avert the disease – this is estimated to prevent 327 000 rabies deaths annually. Rabies is present on all most all continents, but more than 95% of human deaths occur in Asia and Africa. More than 99% of all human deaths from rabies occur in the developing world. Once symptoms of the disease develop, rabies is nearly always fatal.