Vac­ci­na­tion of dogs is the way to pre­vent hu­man ra­bies

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - AN 8-YEAR-OLD GIRL in

South­west China’s Chongqing died of ra­bies on Dec 8. She was bit­ten by an in­fected dog in May, but her fam­ily did not re­al­ize that the dog had the dis­ease. Bei­jing Youth Daily com­ments:

Had the girl re­ceived the ra­bies vac­ci­na­tion im­me­di­ately af­ter be­ing bit­ten, she would have sur­vived.

Her death shows the lack of at­ten­tion to zoonotic dis­eases, dis­eases that can be trans­mit­ted to hu­mans from an­i­mals, on the part of pub­lic health au­thor­i­ties. Cat­tle and pets should re­ceive in­jec­tions in or­der to pre­vent sev­eral kinds of com­mon zoono­sis, such as ra­bies, from be­ing trans­mit­ted,

In many ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties post-in­fec­tion treat­ment is rare, al­though the sit­u­a­tion is bet­ter in ur­ban ar­eas where peo­ple re­ceive the ra­bies vac­cine upon be­ing bit­ten by a dog, but still ur­ban dogs are not given ra­bies vac­cine in­jec­tions as a pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure. Ac­cord­ing to World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion data, as long as 70 per­cent of dogs of a re­gion re­ceive such in­jec­tions, ra­bies will be elim­i­nated in that re­gion. About 50 coun­tries and re­gions have fin­ished the job and ra­bies has dis­ap­peared in these ar­eas.

For the past 10 years, the num­ber of deaths caused by ra­bies has been over 2,000 in China, sec­ond only to the num­ber in In­dia. Had China taken the pop­u­lar prac­tice of manda­tory ra­bies vac­ci­na­tions for dogs, many of those lives would have been saved ev­ery year.

The death of the girl in Chongqing should re­mind do­mes­tic health au­thor­i­ties of the im­por­tance of vac­ci­nat­ing dogs. Be­sides, peo­ple in some ru­ral re­gions do not re­ceive the ra­bies vac­cine if bit­ten by a dog be­cause the in­jec­tion costs 200 to 300 yuan ($43), which is rather ex­pen­sive com­pared with their in­comes. The State needs to of­fer sub­si­dies if nec­es­sary.

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