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Important Facts For Prelims

Rabies

  • 27 Mar 2023
  • 3 min read

Why in News?

Recently, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched the National Rabies Control Programme (NRCP) for prevention and control of Rabies.

What are the Objectives of NRCP?

  • Provision of rabies vaccine & rabies immunoglobulin through national free drug initiatives;
  • Training on appropriate animal bite management, prevention and control of rabies, surveillance and intersectoral coordination;
  • Strengthening surveillance of animal bites and rabies deaths reporting;
  • Creating awareness about rabies prevention.

What is Rabies?

  • About:
    • Rabies is a vaccine-preventable, zoonotic, viral disease.
    • It is caused by a Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) virus that is present in the saliva of a rabid animal (dog, cat, monkey, etc).
    • It is invariably transmitted following a bite of an infected animal that leads to deposition of the saliva and the virus in the wound.
    • Once clinical symptoms appear, rabies is virtually 100% fatal. The death invariably occurs in four days to two weeks due to cardio-respiratory failure.
      • In up to 99% of cases, domestic dogs are responsible for rabies virus transmission to humans.
    • The incubation period varies from 2–3 months but may vary from 1 week to 1 year, or rarely even more.
  • Treatment:
    • Rabies can be prevented by vaccinating pets, staying away from wildlife, and seeking medical care after potential exposures before symptoms start.
  • Symptoms:
    • The first symptoms of rabies may be similar to flu and may last for a few days, which includes:
      • Fever, Headache, Nausea, Vomiting, Anxiety, Confusion, Hyperactivity, Difficulty swallowing, Excessive salivation, Hallucinations, Insomnia.

What is the Status of Rabies in India?

  • India is endemic for rabies, and accounts for 36% of the world’s rabies deaths.
  • It causes 18 000-20 000 deaths every year. About 30-60% of reported rabies cases and deaths in India occur in children under the age of 15 years as bites that occur in children often go unrecognized and unreported.
    • In India, dogs are responsible for about 97% of human rabies, followed by cats (2%), jackals, mongooses and others (1%). The disease is endemic throughout the country.

What are the Initiatives to Deal with Rabies?

  • The Central Government has framed the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2023 which is to be implemented by the local authority to control the population of stray dogs. The main focus of the rules is on anti-rabies vaccination of stray dogs and neutering of stray dogs as means of population stabilization.
  • The Government has launched ‘National Action Plan For Dog Mediated Rabies Elimination (NAPRE) from India by 2030’. The stray dog population control and management of stray dogs is the mandate of the local bodies.

Source: PIB

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