According to World Health Organization (WHO) in India alone, is estimated that 18,000 to 20,000 human deaths each year from rabies. Many of these deaths are children, often dying outside of medical facilities – meaning their deaths go unrecorded.
Rabies is a zoonotic viral disease (it is transmitted from animals to humans); the dog is infected by bites of rodents or hematophagous bats. Rabies, passed to humans primarily through dog bites, is always fatal by the time its symptoms start, however it is entirely preventable.
Washing wounds thoroughly with soap and water after a bite is an effective way of preventing infection, while both pre-exposure and post-exposure vaccinations for humans exist. Global elimination of the disease is feasible through mass vaccinations of dogs, which transmit 95% of rabies cases to humans. It is necessary to vaccinate 70% of the total dog population in a short period of time, maintain that immune coverage and protect the area from spill over through control of dog movement from affected adjacent areas. Things become a little more complicated when the dog population gets out of hand, as is the case in many parts of rural India.
In India, the number of pet dogs is estimated to be around 5 million. The stray dog population in India is estimated to be 19 million and still increasing, owing to ineffective control measures. Stray dogs pose substantial risks to public health due to injury and transmission of zoonoses such as rabies. Both pet and stray dogs may act as reservoirs of zoonotic parasites in India.
In India the important zoonotic parasites are Toxocara canis, Ancylostoma spp., Echinococcus granulosus, Leishmania spp. and Toxoplasma gondii. Ancylostoma is known as hookworm, is also a zoonotic parasite, causing eosinophilic enteritis and cutaneous larva migrans.
The importance of parasitic infections must be recognized by both physicians and veterinarians. Control of infections in dogs is necessary for prevention in humans. As stray dogs represent a large reservoir of zoonotic canine parasites (along with other zoonoses such as rabies), controlling the stray dog population is important, through surgical neutering and governments have to put regulations in public and animal health. From a public health viewpoint, the ubiquity of zoonotic parasites in dogs in India warrants an appropriate surveillance program in combination with population control for stray dogs, deworming of pet dogs, control of vectors (fleas, ticks) and increase general public awareness of the risk factors and control measures for zoonotic parasites.
The contribution of private and non-governmental organizations has also been a crucial part of an improvement picture. So don’t let your pet without the complete vaccination program and ask your veterinarian about the most suitable deworming method and an effective ectoparasiticide (for ticks and fleas), especially in the hot summer season.
Jodhpur Dog Park in collaboration with Grow Sansthan will lead a Free Healthcare and Vaccination Camp, this 26th of May, you can register for free CLICKING HERE.
Is important to ask your local governors to take actions for the control of stray dogs, also if you can take safely some stray dogs from your area for the Free Vaccination Camp would be a big aid for the cause.
References: World Health Organisation, Sharma R., Singh B., Gill J.P., Jenkins E., Canine parasitic zoonoses in India: Status and issues. Rev. Sci. Tech. Off. Int. Epiz., 2017, 36 (3)., Pratibha Chauhan et. al., Study of profile of animal bite victims attending anti-rabies clinic at Jodhpur, International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health, 2013, 36(4).