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What is World Rabies day ? and why 28th September

September 24th, 2016

World Rabies Day is in a few days. It aims to raise awareness about rabies. This year’s theme is Educate, Vaccinate, Eliminate.

This year’s theme is Educate, Vaccinate, Eliminate.

Rabies is a serious problem in many parts of the world: Rabies threatens half the world’s population

– about 55,000 deaths per year.

Australia is truly a lucky country,  with no rabies in the land animals – ( although some in flying fox)

So many Australians are in blissful ignorance of rabies, but travellers frequently visit rabies-infected countries.

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Louis Pasteur: head of team that developed first rabies vaccine

 

September 28,  is the anniversary of the death of Louis Pasteur – ( Rather depressing to celebrate his death perhaps but he was the father of germ theory of disease and the one who  headed the team that developed the very first rabies vaccine.)

 

 

 

One hot July morning in 1885, feverish little Joseph Meister,  was dragged by his frantic mother through the streets of Paris in search of an unknown scientist who, according to rumors, could prevent rabies.

 

Nine-year-old Joseph had been bitten in 14 places by a huge, mad dog

In a desperate attempt to cheat death, his mother had fled from their home town in Alsace to Paris. Early in the afternoon Mme Meister met a young physician in a hospital.

“You mean Pasteur,” he said. “I’ll take you there.”

Bacteriologist Louis Pasteur, who kept kennels of mad dogs in a crowded little laboratory and was hounded by medical criticism, had never tried his rabies vaccine on a human being before. But moved by the tears of Mme Meister, he finally took the boy to the Hotel-Dieu, had him injected with material from the spinal cord of a rabbit that had died from rabies. For three weeks Pasteur watched anxiously at the boy’s bedside. To his overwhelming joy, the boy recovered.

…and the rest, as the say, is history.

Dr Deb’s short podcast on rabies here

 

The Pasteur Institute maintains historical documents and images from Pastuer's life. Here we see Louis Pasteur with Joseph Meister, the first human to receive Pasteur's rabies vaccination.

The Pasteur Institute maintains historical documents and images from Pastuer’s life. Here we see Louis Pasteur with Joseph Meister, the first human to receive Pasteur’s rabies vaccination.

 

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