Pakistan Observer

Rabies cause 5,000 deaths annually in Pakistan

Rafiullah Mandokhail

Saturday, September 14, 2013 - xZhob—Rabies is a viral Zoonotic disease caused by ‘Rabdo-Virus’ and carried in the saliva of infected warm-blooded animals. It is transmitted to human beings through bites and scratches. Rabid dogs are the most common vector for the spread and transmission of virus. It is fatal if not treated properly. According to health experts, more than 50,000 people die each year of rabies in the world, while nearly 5,000 deaths are reported annually due to the Rabies in Pakistan due to the lack of awareness regarding the disease. Most of the population is either unaware of the risk of rabies when bitten by rabid dogs, or deprived of the right treatment for its prevention.

Majority of the rabies suspect cases remain unreported in the country, while of the reported cases, more than 60% of deaths occur in children below 15. Overall, one person is killed by the disease in every 10 minutes across the world. It is believed that nothing may be more painful and horrific than rabies. Rabies is a neglected disease in bordering district Zhob, although the incidents of dog bites in the district are very high. Recently dozens of people including children have sustained multiple injuries, when number of stray dogs has turned mad and bit citizens in various areas of the district. Increasing number of stray dogs has now become a nuisance for people of the area. Stray dogs can easily be seen roaming in almost every street and road of the city, particularly during pre-dawn and night time. They are often seen chasing people and growling at them.

In a number of localities in the city, it has become almost impossible for citizens to move freely at night. The dogs pose a serious threat to the lives of pedestrians. Residents complain that they had lodged several complaints to the office of the Administrator, but no step has been taken so for to control swelling number of stray dogs. “Eradication of stray dogs has never been taken seriously despite continuous rise in number of injuries due to dog-bites”. A resident said. Officials of Municipality repeatedly claim that eradication of stray dogs is responsibility of the district administration and health department. But, no one comes forward.

Hazrat Umer resident of Gustoi area breathed his last of dog bite at civil hospital few months back. “District headquarters civil hospital Zhob receives 5-10 cases of dog-bite almost every day”, said President Para Medical Staff Federation Muhammad Tahir Hotak. Moreover, District Headquarters civil hospital is facing shortage of anti-rabies vaccines. Owing to the lack of vaccines and ill medication, the disappointed people have diverted their attention towards special treatment (Dam).

The high mortality rate of the disease in Pakistan is mainly because of the lack of awareness about vaccination of domestic animals and pre-exposure vaccination of at risk population. Moreover, lack of diagnostic facilities regarding the specific infection adds up in making the infection with fatal outcome. Veterinary Officer Relief International Dr. Syed Ramazan Shah said that the virus affects the central nervous systems of most warm-blooded animals and victims of such animal bites have to be immediately vaccinated. It causes convulsions, inability to move and strange behavior developing hydrophobia (fear of water) in the victim exposed to the disease.
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