CHENNAI: Yet another feather in the cap awaits the Nilgiris! Declaring it as rabies-free is under consideration of the Health and Animal Husbandry departments, making the Nilgiris the first ever district in the country to reach this milestone.
According to officials in the know, the World Health Organisation (WHO) would be recommended to make the declaration once the groundwork is completed.
No rabies case has been reported in the district in the last decade, said officials.
“To declare rabies-free, there should be no case reported in 10 years. We checked all the medical records and there was no case reported in the last decade, making Nilgiris eligible for this. However, we do not want to jump the gun and do it immediately, and then find a case. To be extra careful, we are going to have an intensified surveillance programme,” said a senior Health department official.
The programme is being designed to enhance awareness about rabies among public and the medical fraternity.
“Doctors will be taught the treatment protocol for dog bite, vaccination etc. Information on rabies will be distributed among the public. Domestic animals that are potential carriers of rabies will be screened and vaccinated,” the official added.
A dedicated team for this programme would have officials from the health, animal husbandry and forest departments. Plans are afoot to engage the National expert committee to avail expertise.
“We have also decided to have an intensified monitoring system, to be framed very soon,” he disclosed.
According to sources, the programme, at an initial stage, would take off soon after working out the strategies and the teams.
Later on, the intensified surveillance programme would be extended to other districts.
Not having any reported case is no mean achievement, a senior official said, adding that this was made possible by the joint effort of Pasteur Institute of India at Coonoor, pioneer in anti-rabies vaccine production, and the Health department. Both have worked together in spreading awareness about rabies and in providing treatment.