Should We Fear the Rabies Epidemic in 2022?

Since the beginning of the year, 25 cases of rabies in animals have been reported, including in dogs and cats. Data from individual provinces is so alarming that some of them have been ordered to vaccinate domestic cats. Dogs, on the other hand, are required to be vaccinated regardless of where they reside. Still, there is no shortage of skeptics about vaccinating animals. Veterinarians pay attention to their necessity on April 30, World Veterinarian Day.

Rabies spreads among wild animals, including pets. According to data from the Chief Veterinary Inspectorate, there was a 500% increase in pet cases in 2021 and a 1080% increase in wildlife cases compared to 2020. The situation is so serious that the European Commission, in collaboration with the Chief Veterinary Inspectorate, conducted a special audit at the beginning of March and April of this year, checking the current activities related to disease control and its prevention in Poland.

Industry associations such as the National Medical and Veterinary Chamber, the Polish Association of Veterinarians for Small Animals and the Polish Association of Manufacturers and Importers of Veterinary Medicines POLPROWET joined in the promotion of animal vaccination. They organized a campaign to raise awareness among animal keepers about vaccinating pets. However, there is no shortage of skeptics about universal vaccinations for pets. Reports with reliable scientific arguments demonstrating the need for vaccination were followed by comments from animal anti-vaccinators. In it we read, among other things:

– “Of course, why vaccinate them, they will be healthier without vaccination”;

– “Vaccinating animals with poison. Enough people already swallowed poison for covid”

– “And wild animals do not vaccinate … and live …”

(original spelling)

These selected statements show that, despite the passing of the years, awareness campaigns are still necessary because, as you can see, awareness of the problem is very limited in some cases. As explained by the drug. veterinary surgeon. Marek Mastalerek, President of the National Chamber of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, it is the mass vaccination against rabies, wild animals and pets that significantly reduces the incidence of this deadly disease for humans and animals. – For 30 years, wild animal vaccination has nearly eliminated the incidence of rabies every year. The last fatal case of the disease among humans occurred more than 20 years ago – adds Mastalerek.

In turn, the medicine. veterinary surgeon. Andrzej Lisowski, president of the Polish Association of Veterinarians for Small Animals, recalls that rabies vaccination is mandatory throughout Poland, while cats must be vaccinated in selected provinces, but they are generally recommended, as in the case of dogs. In the case of rabies, this is the only way to save the lives of both animals and humans. It is incurable and always fatal. The issue of the need to vaccinate companion animals becomes even more important at a time when nearly 3 million refugees from war-stricken Ukraine moved to Poland, along with tens of thousands of dogs, cats and ferrets of unknown (undocumented) health status. One of the elements of the aid to Ukrainian citizens who come to Poland with their “animal companions” is the introduction of the obligation to vaccinate and mark the arriving animals. The action is free for refugees and is financed from the budget of the Veterinary Inspectorate.

– Despite the enormous development of knowledge about many infectious diseases in humans and animals, veterinarians observe the development of the most dangerous pandemic in the 21st century caused by the virus “dilettantism”which kills more people and animals than any other infectious agent. This virus infects people who lack “immunity” due to a lack of basic biological knowledge at the elementary school level. It is spreading thanks to widespread access to social media, where this “virus” multiplies and infects the next hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of “susceptible organisms”. The only “vaccine” to prevent the spread of this virus is the dissemination of reliable knowledge to the general public. This goal is served by the campaign with the involvement of the Polish Association of Doctors for Small Animals. We hope that most pet owners will be convinced that vaccinating our pets is worthwhile, because only in this way can we save their lives and ourselves. – concludes Dr. Lisowski.

Under the campaign, there are also positive comments pointing to the importance of vaccinating pets:

“I vaccinate my dog ​​regularly from the first month of her stay with us. Three years have now passed. Combined vaccines and deworming. And I think I saved the dog’s life, myself and others. I met a hedgehog in the garden. Sweet right? He died on the second day. He wasn’t afraid, he didn’t cringe and snort in anger. I didn’t know he might be sick, he looked quite normal apart from his unusual behaviour. My curious dog must have examined his body carefully. Just to be clear, those who make eggs from vaccinations. Rabies is not a myth. And it is incurable. Rabies kills in a beastly way. It is enough to see the course of the disease in the movies. The sight leaves a smoking crater.

(original spelling)

Radosław Knap, Secretary General of the association POLPROWET, notes that this year’s campaign, culminating in World Veterinarians Day on April 30, is an important element in health prevention, which is part of the strategy of the European organization AnimalhealthEurope to promote the idea of ​​#JednednoZdrowie. – We organized a joint action entitled “Not vaccinated? I don’t believe! Vaccinate the animal!” was intended to show the role of animal vaccination as a socially important topic. As evidenced by the reactions of users of social networking sites, this is necessary and will certainly continue in the coming years – explains Radosław Knap.

The day-to-day work of veterinarians ensures the safety and health of not only our pets, but ourselves as well. – On World Veterinary Day, it is worth noting that people professionally involved in veterinary medicine work not only in clinics, kennels, zoos, shelters, but also in inspections and offices, as well as in universities, laboratories and many pharmaceutical companies. Regardless of the workplace, they share a desire to ensure animal welfare and health, which translates directly into the guarantee of human health. – summarizes Radosław Knap.

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