Rabies epidemiology causes around 2000 to 5000 deaths annually in Pakistan for the most part due to the lack of awareness regarding the disease and the expensive treatment.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 700,000 people are infected globally leading to 20,000 to 30,000 deaths per year.
National and International scientists negotiate the rising rabies infection in a 5th Science and Technology Exchange Program (STEP)an international conference on ‘Health Challenges of Communicable Diseases (CDs) and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)’, held at the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi.
ICCBS Director Dr Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary discuss the skin disease Leishmaniasis caused by different species of intracellular protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania. He regrets that investing money in curing poor-man diseases was a “bad business” in which no one pharmaceutical company was willing to invest.
Dr Naseem Salahuddin, a senior consultant and Head of Infectious Diseases at Indus Hospital, said that rabies was one of the oldest diseases of mankind, which was completely fatal disease.
“Most rabies deaths are not reported, while most cases are taken to shrines or faith-healers,” she regretted and added that there were no policies on stray dog control in the country.
Rabies is a zoonotic disease that spreads to people through close contact with infected saliva via bites or scratches by animals. Dogs are a major source of human rabies deaths.
The steps that could bring the death rate caused by rabies down include better hygiene, awareness, rabid dog’s control, refuge for wandering dogs and timely vaccination.