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Awareness is imperative for eradication of rabies: Azad

Written by: Staff
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Jammu, July, 7 (UNI) Stressing for community awareness with regard to all aspects of dreaded diseases like rabies, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has called for effective and practical dog population management and widespread immunisation programmes.

Speaking at the inaugural session of two day 8th National Conference of the Association for Prevention and Control of Rabies in India on Rabies Elimination-Issues and Challenges, here today he said the first-aid availability, management of animal bites, pre and post-exposure prophylaxis, dog population management and laboratory diagnosis are the aspects to be addressed in the elimination of rabies.

''The rabies is the most dreadful of all the communicable diseases that a man can get from the animals and it is invariably fatal. It has been endemic in India since times immemorial and though the exact figures are not available even today, it is believed that about 20,000 persons die of this disease every year in the country, he said.

''An overwhelming 95 per cent mortality and morbidity of this disease is as a result of bite by stray rabid dogs. The dog population in 1982 was 18.8 million which rose to 19.7 million in 1987, and is now estimated to be 25 million. Most of these dogs are unprotected against rabies,'' he added.

He said, the rabies cases are seen throughout the year, almost two thirds of the victims are male and about 40 percent are children who are less than 14 years of age. Almost 1.8 million animal bite cases elect to receive post exposure treatment, he added.

''It is sad to note that 99 percent of all human rabies deaths occur in the developing world. Although, effective and economical control measures are available their application in developing countries is hampered by a range of economic, social and political factors.'' He said a major factor is the low level of political commitment to rabies control and lack of accurate data on the true public health impact of the disease, Mr Azad said.

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