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Canine terror: 4396 dog bites registered at SMHS in last 6 months

September 29, 2023

Srinagar: A whopping 4,396 bite victims, mostly dog bites, were reported to the Anti-Rabies Clinic at Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital in the last six months, officials said.

The presence of dogs in the nook and corner of the valley has led to human-dog confrontation due to which the number of cases of dog bites has increased in the region, they said.

An official from Anti-Rabies Clinic SMHS told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that from 1st April 2022 till 31st March 2023, as many as 6,875 bite cases were reported, with most of them from Srinagar.

He said a total of 4,396 fresh cases were reported from April 01 to September 27 this year. If it continues, the cases may reach the 10,000 mark by March 2024, he said.

Giving yearly data on bite cases, the official said that from April 2015 to March 2016, 7,061 bite cases were reported to ARC SMHS, followed by 5,832 cases from April 2016 to March 2017, 6,802 from April 2017 to March 2018, 6,397 from April 2018 to March 2019, 6139 from April 2019 to March 2020, 4,808 from April 2020 to March 2021, 5,469 from April 2021 to March 2022, 6,875 from April 2022 to March 2023 and 4396 cases till date.

Around 54,000 cases have been registered in the Anti-Rabies Clinic from April 2015 to September 27, 2023, he added.

In Kashmir, dog bite is a serious public health problem. Thousands of people become victims of animal bites, especially dog bites, and some of them develop rabies.

Rabies is an invariably fatal viral disease resulting in approximately 59,000 human deaths per year globally, with 95 percent of cases occurring in Africa and Asia.

The only way to prevent a rabies death is vaccination of an animal bite victim. In Kashmir, the burden and characteristics of dog bites are not routinely captured by the health system in place.

World Rabies Day is celebrated on September 28 to raise awareness about rabies prevention and to highlight progress in defeating this horrifying disease. The day also marks the death anniversary of Louis Pasteur, the French chemist and microbiologist, who developed the first rabies vaccine.

Today, safe and efficacious animal and human vaccines are among the important tools that exist to eliminate human deaths from rabies while awareness is the key driver for the success of communities to engage in effective rabies prevention KNO

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