Human rabies notified as dangerous disease

Pointing out that  people have a tendency to ignore dog bites, the health official said they approach quacks for treatment instead of going to hospitals.

Published: 27th May 2022 05:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th May 2022 05:52 AM   |  A+A-

Dogs, Rabies

Representational image ( Express Illustrations )

Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday declared human rabies as a dangerous disease. The move comes in the wake of rise in number of people falling victim to this zoonotic disease. In March, two women in erstwhile Krishna district died when a rabid cat bit them. However, the unreported cases of rabies are higher than the reported incidents. 

With the State government declaring human rabies as a notifiable disease, by amending the Andhra Pradesh Public Health Act, 1939, all healthcare facilities (government and private) will have to follow the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW), National Rabies Control Programme (NRCP) and the State government for screening, diagnosis and management of rabies.

They will have to report each and every suspect, probable and confirmed case of rabies in humans to the commissioner of H&FW, through concerned district medical and health officer, and to the district collectors. In Andhra Pradesh, on an average 3.5 lakh cases of dog bites have been reported since 2013. 
However, there are no reports of the exact number of fatalities due to dog bites.

Speaking to TNIE, Public Health Director Dr Hymavati said, “There has not been any spurt in the number of reported cases of dog bites, but by notifying rabies as a dangerous disease, the number of the cases that hereto go unreported will come down.”

Pointing out that  people have a tendency to ignore dog bites, the health official said they approach quacks for treatment instead of going to hospitals.Hymavathi added that most of the cases that are reported at hospitals involve children while serious cases of animal bites are mostly dog bites.

The Central Government, too, had issued guidelines to the State Government directing it to declare rabies as a notifiable disease. Emphasising the need to address the issue of human rabies, the Centre in its guidelines had stated that a strong surveillance system was required so as to estimate the magnitude of the disease.

“This will help develop strategies as per regional conditions to achieve World Health Organisation’s (WHO) goal of zero deaths due to Human Rabies by 2030,” said the guidelines.Pointing out that rabies is highly infectious and fatal, the Centre’s guidelines said, the disease affected multiple sectors including domestic animals, wildlife conservation, public health, modern services and livestock economies. “Therefore, it is important to make sure rabies does not spread,” it noted.

The guidelines further said that declaring rabies a notifiable disease will facilitate contact tracing and prompt prophylactic measures to prevent infection in other people exposed to the same source.
“India is endemic for rabies and suffers approximately 36 per cent of the world’s human rabies deaths transmitted by dogs. Notifying rabies opens ways for creating a more robust mechanism and programmes to address the disease after identifying its occurrence in a more accurate manner,” said Dr CS Rao, president of IMA - Andhra Pradesh.



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