Kerala government forms action plan to tackle rabies

Intensive ABC drive to be launched across State

August 25, 2022 09:45 pm | Updated 09:45 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

The Kerala government is formulating a multi-pronged action plan, with coordinated efforts by the Health, Animal Husbandry and the Local Self Government departments, for rabies control in the State.

A decision to this effect was taken at a high-level meeting convened by Ministers Veena George, J. Chinchurani and M.V Govindan here on Thursday as incidences of animal bites have increased several fold in the State in recent times.

It was decided to launch an intensive animal birth control (ABC) programme to sterilise and control population of stray dogs. This will go hand in hand with an intensive animal vaccination programme. People will need to acquire a mandatory licence to rear pets at home, and it will have to be ensured that these animals are vaccinated against rabies. Besides, an animal sterilisation centre will be set up in every block.

The meeting noted that incidences of dog bites have gone up in all districts. People should not hesitate to take anti-rabies vaccine if they have an encounter with animals. Vaccination should not be delayed and the public need to be made aware of this fact.

Most of those who died following rabies infection had been bitten by dogs/animals on hands or the face ( where there are more nerve fibres), which was one of the reasons that contributed to their death.

It was decided at the meeting to ensure that all main hospitals in the State had adequate stocks of anti-rabies vaccine.

Though huge quantities of the vaccine have been stocked by the State, the demand for vaccine has also increased several fold in recent times, in proportion to the increase in stray dog population and the increased incidences of dog bites. This often results in a situation wherein many hospitals in the periphery run out of vaccine stocks fast.

People suffering bites on hands or face would necessarily require immunoglobulin serum as well along with the vaccine. But this medicine, which is expensive, might not be in stock in all hospitals always, complicating issues.

The Animal Husbandry department informed the meeting that with the help of other departments, all efforts would be taken to vaccinate as many dogs as possible against rabies.

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