Cost of Rabies
The cost of rabies throughout the world is difficult to estimate for several different reasons. First, most deaths from rabies occur in countries with inadequate public health resources and limited access to preventive treatment. These countries also have few diagnostic facilities and almost no rabies surveillance, so rabies cases among humans are underreported.
Second, rabies is not, in the natural sense, a disease of humans; human infection is incidental to the presence of the disease in wild and domestic animals. Any accurate projection of the cost of rabies would have to include an estimate of the extent to which the animal population is affected, and the expense involved in preventing transmission of rabies from animals to humans.
Despite evidence that control of dog rabies (through programs of animal vaccination and elimination of stray dogs) can reduce the incidence of rabies in humans, exposure to rabid dogs is still the cause of over 90 percent of human exposures to rabies and of over 99 percent of human deaths from the disease worldwide. The cost of animal vaccination and control prohibits their full implementation in much of the developing world, and in even the most prosperous countries, the cost of an effective dog rabies control program is a drain on public health resources.