Over 5000 people die from rabies annually in Pakistan

September 26, 2014 Off By Web Desk

KARACHI: Renowned neurologist at Aga Khan University, Prof Dr Mohammad Wasay Shakir on Saturday said about 20,000 to 30,000 dog bite cases are reported annually in Karachi, thus vaccination of pet dogs is necessary to prevent people from rabies.

He informed this while addressing an awareness seminar in connection of Ward Rabies Day organized by Health Committee of Karachi Press Club (KPC) in collaboration with Neurology Awareness & Research Foundation (NARF) at KPC. Joint Executive Director, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC), Dr Seemin Jamali and Prof A H Jokhio also spoke.

Prof Wasay said although all the bites cases are not linked with rabies but it is too difficult to identify whether a victim is bitten by an infected dog or not. He stressed the need to raise awareness about rabies, saying these cases can be prevented through vaccination of pets but in our country there is very little vaccination of pets.

He said rabies is deadly diseases but 100 percent preventable through vaccination. It kills more people each year than polio and other viral diseases. He said children are more vulnerable to dog bite.

He said majority of rabies cases are reported from India, Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan. He said dog bite cases have almost eliminated in the developed countries through proper screening and vaccination.

Joint Executive Director, JPMC, Dr Seemin Jamali said according a World Health Organization report 55000 to 70,000 people die from rabies annually in world. She said similarly 5000 to 7000 patients die due to rabies in Pakistan every year.

She said dog bite victims are increasing day by day, adding since April 2013 JPMC has received 5000 dog bite cases at its emergency department. She said there is no cure after someone develops the initial symptoms of rabies infection.

She informed that JPMC was the first public sector hospital to start modern WHO approved treatment for dog bite victims 22 years ago. She emphasized to adopt the newly introduced intradermal regimen with WHO approved modern cell culture vaccines which will significantly reduce the cost of the treatment to 80 percent.

Prof AH Jokhio said dog bites cases are common in rural areas of Sindh province as compared to urban areas. He said governments and private sector were doing their best to eliminate viral diseases in the country and also in Sindh province.

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