"The dog that bit your son has rabies."
Imagine making this call. Imagine telling someone that their child has likely contracted a disease that causes immense suffering. A disease that, once symptoms show, is fatal and has no cure.
But this call could save a life.
If rabies is caught before symptoms show, it can be stopped, but treatment needs to happen fast.
For Mission Rabies teams working in rabies hotspots, making this call is one of the hardest jobs they have to do. But it is one of the most important.
Rabies disproportionally affects the poorest in society, and when the post exposure rabies treatment can cost over 100x your daily salary, it is not an easy decision to make. Instead people cling onto the hope the dog that bit them, or their child, was not rabid and that they will be lucky.
But luck is not enough to protect against rabies.
We know from experience when someone gets the call to say the dog that bit them was rabid, it makes them far more likely to quickly seek treatment that will save their life.
This may not be the call anyone wants to make, but for now it is the last chance to stop another needless death from rabies.
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