Rabies: Deadly Infection

Every year, World Rabies Day is observed on September 28 in order to bring awareness about the world’s deadliest infectious disease. Rabies is a deadly viral infection that is spread by the bite of an infected animal such as stray dogs, coyotes, fox, bats, among others.

As per WHO, this year’s theme ‘This year’s theme ‘All for 1, One Health for all’ highlights that One Health is not for a selected few but for everyone.

The day, also observed globally to mark the death anniversary of French biologist, microbiologist and chemist, Louis Pasteur, who developed the first rabies vaccine, is observed to raise awareness about the impact of the viral disease and how to prevent it.

According to the WHO, it is about raising awareness about the impact of rabies on humans and animals, providing information and advice on how to prevent the disease in at-risk communities and supporting advocacy for increased efforts in rabies control.

It is an important day for the world to acknowledge the terror in people of the disease. Dogs are the main source of human rabies deaths, contributing up to 99% of all rabies transmissions to humans, according to the world health body. In Jammu and Kashmir context, it should be about tackling challenges posted by the ever increasing canine population.

It is a frightening sight to see packs of dogs on the prowl in streets of the city and villages across the Valley.

The canines have been storming streets, chasing cars, pulling down bicycle riders and often attacking pedestrians and children in Kashmir.

Every year, hundreds of people are bitten by dogs. Around 99% of rabies cases are due to dog bites globally, about 40 percent of the victims being children, according to the WHO, which has announced a campaign to reduce human deaths from dog-transmitted rabies across the globe to zero by 2030.

For rabies, the link is direct. Wherever there are people, there are dogs. If dogs are suffering and dying from rabies, humans will also suffer and die.

The progression of the disease in humans follows distinct stages. From relatively mild symptoms, the disease eventually affects the patient severely, leading to respiratory failure and death.

Vigilance and swift action are paramount in regions where rabies is prevalent, as this disease demands proactive prevention, experts underline. In such a situation, there is a need to get serious on the issue of stray dog menace and look for serious alternative solutions.


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