Spectre of Rabies


JUST like every year, World Rabies Day was observed in the country on Saturday yet it is unfortunate that little is done by authorities concerned to take necessary measures towards its prevention and raise awareness amongst the public about deadly Rabies.
It is because of lack of awareness that spectre of Rabies continues to haunt Pakistan with thousands of lives claimed by Rabies every year. The tragic death in Larkana of a boy, whose final gasps in his mother arms were caught on video that circulated widely on social media, has for the moment brought rabies back into country’s focus. Rabies, one of the oldest and deadliest diseases known to mankind is said to be the mother of all infectious diseases and it is believed that nothing can be more painful and horrific than rabies. Known as poor man’s disease, it is an acute infectious zoonotic disease of central nervous system which can affect almost all mammals including humans and is transmitted to other animals and humans through close contact with saliva of infected animals through bites, scratches, licks on broken skin and mucous membranes. In our country, dogs are considered main vector for rabies virus.
Though Punjab’s health department has recently issued orders to expedite culling of stray dogs, we understand such campaigns and adhoc measures do not prove much effective. In our view, a long-term solution for rabies is to eliminate stray dogs while there is need to create greater awareness amongst public through media as to what they should do if bitten by any dog. In such a scenario, the victim must report to health facility and get anti-rabies tissue culture vaccine (TCV) that is given in at least five doses. Doctors also suggest administration of immunoglobulin in severe biting cases. Responsibility rests with federal and provincial governments to ensure the availability of TCV including the costly immunoglobulin in all district hospitals and primary healthcare facilities to save people from this menace.

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