World Rabies Day is Sept. 28
September 27, 2013 College News - Saturday, Sept. 28, is World Rabies Day, held on the anniversary of Louis Pasteur’s death. Pasteur gained international fame for developing the first rabies vaccine. Current estimates are that approximately 70,000 deaths occur annually from rabies, 40 percent of which are in children under 15 years of age.
Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the brain, causing agitation, terror and convulsions, and is transmitted from infected mammals to humans, usually through a bite. The primary carriers of rabies in Wisconsin are bats and skunks, and the last four human cases of rabies occurred in 1959, 2000, 2004, and 2010 – all from a bat bite.
Rodney Willoughby Jr., MD, Professor of Pediatrics (Infectious Diseases), and a team of physicians from the Medical College of Wisconsin and staff members from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, saved the world’s first un-immunized rabies patient in 2004. Since then, the so-called Milwaukee Protocol has been attempted 51 times around the world, with six additional survivors, including a young man in Chile in 2013. Dr. Willoughby has National Institutes of Health funding to investigate novel vaccines to treat human rabies and publishes updated versions of the Milwaukee Protocol on the College’s website, www.mcw.edu/rabies.