BENGALURU: Despite state’s best efforts to vaccinate stray dogs, the National Health Profile 2018, which was released recently, shows that Karnataka and one other state account for over half of the country’s rabies cases. The report also termed rabies as a fatal communicable disease, with a 100 per cent death rate. Karnataka has seen the second highest number of rabies-related deaths last year.
While the death count was 15 in Karnataka out of 97 cases last year, in 2016 it recorded 22 cases. According to a 2012 Census, there were 2.9 lakh dogs in the city of which 1.05 lakh were pet dogs and 1.85 lakh were stray.
According to BBMP’s Animal Husbandry Department, in the last nine years, close to 1.7 lakh dog-bite cases have been reported. BBMP spends around `3 crore for both sterilisation and vaccination of both stray and pet dogs. It was 16,979 in 2016 and 12,291 last year. This year, till May end, 2,174 dog bites have been reported. In 2016, 37,867 dogs were administered vaccine within BBMP limits to prevent rabies. But in 2017, only 35,266 were vaccinated.
According to G Anand, Joint Director, Animal Husbandry, BBMP, “There are four NGOs, two veterinary doctors and one individual firm doing sterilisation in the city. The same organisations are administering Anti-Rabies Vaccines (ARV). When they sterilise dogs, they also administer ARV. But they have to do it every year as the vaccine is effective only for that period. We have requested for more funds but it has not been sanctioned.”
Dr B G Prakash Kumar, Deputy Director, Department of Health and Family Welfare, said, “Last year there were a lot of deaths reported form areas like Haveri. Also, because of our robust reporting mechanism, reported deaths may have been high.”
The Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals supplies two lakh doses of Anti Rabies Vaccine for animals annually.Dr S M Byregowda, Diector, IAHVB, said, “We charge only `20 per dose of the vaccine that is administered as a preventive measure for Rabies. If the animal has already contracted it, it is a five-dose vaccine that costs `70.”