Rabies: Its Zoonotic importance and control strategies

Co Author: Dr. Muhammad Tahir  Aleem

 There are many zoonotic diseases but from dog point of view rabies is considered as one of most alarming zoonotic disease that is transferred to humans through bite of rapid dogs and bats.

Rabies: Its Zoonotic importance and control strategiesAnimals are awesome creature of nature. From centuries people are keeping animals for different purposes like hunting, entertainment some for protecting farms and other places. These animals include horses, dogs cats monkeys sheep goats. Dogs are considered as one of beloved specie of humans. Dogs are very loyal to humans and considered as one of best friend of humans. Like other animals dogs are effected by many diseases that includes bacterial, viral and fungal infections some of them are contagious and some are zoonotic.

Zoonotic diseases are considered as very dangerous diseases for humans. The word “zoonosis” means anything that transfer from animals to humans.

According to recent reports of WHO and OIE occurrence of rabies effected cases in Asian countries like India Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh including Pakistan    increased thee folds and now this becomes a serious issue for Pakistan.

According to report of WHO about 30,000 people effected due to rabies every year. In every 15 minutes one person die due to rabies and out of which 15% death is of children with less than 15 years of age .According to report of NIHP (National Institute Of Health Pakistan)   almost 2000 to 5000 deaths have been reported every year in Pakistan and from year 2016 to 2018 this ratio is increased to alarming level.    

Rabies is an acute viral diseases caused by  lyssaviruses belongs to Rhabdovidea family effecting wide range of animals like cattle buffalo but most important are carnivores and bats incubation period of this disease is 12-21 days . So in case of any suspect dogs should be separated for 21 days under strict monitoring.

Rabies is classified into two major forms

  • Furious form
  • Paralytic form

Furious form  are also called as mad cow syndrome in this form dog becomes very furious and show aggressive behavior like showing his teeth claws horns with dilated eyes. Animals suffering from this disease usually lose fear of humans and move frequently on roads. These rabid dogs are attracted towards noise and moving objects. They usually ate different bones, meats pieces. If these are locked in cages they started to chew wires and frame of cages. In coordination and seizures occur and ends at death of dog.

Paralytic form is characterized by paralysis of throat and messeter muscles. Salivation, inability to swallow and dropping of lower jaw is very common paralysis gradually progresses to all parts of body finally death of dog occurs. These dogs commonly limit themselves to one place and rarely attempt to bite any person.  Disease is transferred to humans through salivation of effected dog and bats.

Preventive measures:

Following measures should be taken to control further spread of disease

  • Seminars should be conducted to educate the people about the severity and preventive measures of this disease.
  • Veterinary and Para veterinary staff should be trained properly trained especially against zoonotic diseases.
  • All farm workers and owners should be properly guided about this disease.
  • Proper registration should be done for all dogs present in cities.
  • Pet owners should be strictly guided for routinely checkup for their dogs.
  • Vaccination against rabies should be made compulsory for all registered dogs.
  • Rabies vaccination should be made compulsory for all veterinarian ad Para medical staff.
  • Special teams should be made to check and kill the excess stray dogs in cities.
  • Rapid dog should be killed immediately.
  • Rapid effected dog must be burned and buried under soil properly
  • In case of any suspect about the dog quaternary measures should be adopted to avoid the disease.
  • MMBS doctors should be trained properly for handling  the zoonotic diseases especially rabies
  • In case of dog bite doctor should be consulted immediately.
  • Separate sections should be made in every government and private hospital for dealing these zoonotic cases on emergency basis.
  • Government and private health sectors should realize their responsibility and should play their role in eliminating this zoonotic diseases for the welfare of mankind.