Bitten by lethargy
Most rabies deaths occur in India. Yet, the government is dragging its feet over controlling dog population, vaccinating them or even making enough shots available for victims |
Despite having the highest number of rabies deaths, India is still dragging its feet over measures to control the deadly disease
HERE IS something that can make Louis Pasteur turn in his grave. The French scientist had created the first vaccine against rabies—a viral infection that causes inflammation of the brain, leading to delusion and then death. Some 130 years later, the virus continues to be the deadliest killer in India, shows the National Health Profile 2018. All the 97 people who had contracted the disease last year succumbed to it, says the report, released on June 25. According to the World Health Organization (who), India accounts for 36 per cent of rabies deaths that occur worldwide each year. While one can develop the disease if bitten or scratched by any rabid mammal, such as monkeys or bats,
who says dogs contribute up to 99 per cent of all rabies transmitted to humans; and children are the usual victims.
Data with the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (mohfw) shows that since 2011 there has been a drop of over 60 per cent in the number of rabies deaths year on year (except 2017). But experts rubbish the data. “The true burden of rabies in India is not known. The reported incidence is probably an underestimation because in India rabies is still not a notifiable disease,” says Hendrik Bekedam, who representative to India. “The government figures are way lower than the actual figures,” says M K Sudarshan, founder member of the Association for Prevention and Control of Rabies in India (apcri). A 2015 study, published in peer-reviewed plos
Neglected Tropical Diseases corroborates his observation. The study that