‘Not just dog bites’: Why India is struggling to contain rabies | Global health

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BWhen the patient, a young man, approached Dr. Ramesh Masti at a hospital in Bangalore, it was too late to save him. When he went out to buy milk after being bitten by a pack of stray dogs, his family found green pepper, then lime juice, and at the end of the pie when the wound looked horrible, turmeric.

“It simply came to our notice then. The wound was severe, and we could not save it. There is a lot of ignorance about dog bites and superstitions. He would have avoided being shot in time, “says Masti.

It is this unnecessary loss of human life from rabbis that led to India’s first Rabies Awareness Summit in October, organized by the Integrated Health and Welfare Council in Delhi and attended by Misty, We will demand an end to the disease.

Experts say the only way to achieve this is for the Indian government to make Lewani a ‘recognizable’ disease like polio or tuberculosis and significantly change its status. Basically, this means that the government will pay due attention to measuring the rate of events, monitoring progress, and allocating resources and funds. For example, health clinics across the country will have to have an adequate supply of ribs, as opposed to the current situation, clinics in remote areas often run out of supplies or lack trained staff to run a full course of shots. Is.

A government program will need to include a campaign to improve public awareness, as well as the important issue of vaccinating and neutering stray dogs.

In the southern state of Kerala, Kochi, stray dogs shelter from the rain.
Experts say a government program is needed to vaccinate and sterilize stray dogs. Photographer: RSIR / AP

“With the elimination of rabies, we will have a permanent program, such as the Polio Eradication Program, to monitor and evaluate these measures,” said Manika Gandhi, a women’s and children’s development and animal welfare activist. Dogs need to be vaccinated and neutered, but the political frenzy is largely lost.

Global health Of the organization The goal of eliminating human rabies deaths globally by 2030 cannot be achieved unless India succeeds (it accounts for 36% of cases).

Over the years, India’s stray dog ​​population has grown. It is estimated to be between 35-40 million. Go to any city, town or village and pack dogs, usually friendly but sometimes racial, inevitable. Going for evening walks is often forced to run a pack of gauntlets.

The animals are usually fed by dog ​​lovers but no one is responsible for vaccinating them. Even if they have been vaccinated, but not sterilized, a dog can have several pups a year, and the whole cycle starts again.

When I take my bagel for a walk, I pick up a big stick and have to be aggressive to keep the street dogs away. It completely ruined my enjoyment. “They were fed by dog ​​lovers but no one accepts their responsibility,” said Ontika Gupta, who lives in New Friends Colony, Delhi.

Pet owners are getting vaccinated at a government veterinary hospital in Hyderabad on the occasion of World Zones Day on July 6, 2020.
Pet owners take their dogs for vaccinations … Dog bites are almost all cases of rabies in India. Photo: Noah Saleem / AFP / Getty

Around India 20,000 rabies deaths a year. Worldwide, over 59,000 people Rabies die every year, 40% of them under the age of 15.

Unlike bites from monkeys or bats, dog bites cause almost all cases of rabies in India. Many poor Indians are unaware that dog bites need immediate treatment. Even if they are well aware of it, they often get one or two Rabi shots and fail to return the rest.

Stray dog ​​populations need to be vaccinated and sterilized to end Rabi ‘. It’s not easy. Catching stray dogs – tough, street animals, not heavy, overweight labradors – is a challenge to vaccinate them.

The dogs see that the dog catcher is coming a mile away, and is chasing him, which results in the dog being caught, possibly shot. Most municipal officials, already struggling with pollution, waste treatment and many of the problems of homelessness, consider dog vaccination a low priority.

Founder of Dr. MK Sudarshan Association for Prevention and control of rabbis in IndiaIt is believed that human rabbis have been neglected because “it is the disease of the poor”.

Instead of worrying about animal lovers, or dog bites, he says, making it a significant disease is the only problem that needs to be taken seriously.

“Once it becomes a recognizable disease, for which a law has to be passed, reporting of cases will become mandatory. Any doctor or hospital that fails to report cases will be punished. Making it remarkable will greatly enhance its profile, “he says.

It will take time, he warned. He says the government will have to come under pressure from the people, who are not aware at the moment.

Changing the official status of diseases is the key to eradicating rabies. “Then people will stop treating him like ‘just a dog bite’,” he says.

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