Infections in humans: Centre asks states to make rabies notifiable
Rabies is a viral disease, and causes tens of thousands of deaths every year, mainly in Asia and Africa. Human rabies infections are reported from all over India, except the Andaman & Nicobar, and Lakshadweep islands.
Rabies infections in humans should be made a notifiable disease, the central government has asked the states, in an attempt to ensure effective reporting that would eventually lead to eradication of the disease in the country, officials said.
“It is a part of the steps being taken under the rabies elimination plan,” a central government official said, requesting anonymity.
Rabies is a viral disease, and causes tens of thousands of deaths every year, mainly in Asia and Africa. Human rabies infections are reported from all over India, except the Andaman & Nicobar, and Lakshadweep islands. Dogs are the main source of human rabies. Up to 99% of all rabies transmissions to humans occur after dog bites. It is invariably fatal but can be prevented through vaccination.
India launched a National Action Plan for Dog Mediated Rabies Elimination from India by 2030 on World Rabies Day on September 28 last year to accelerate action towards the elimination of rabies.
The Centre has asked the states to declare the disease notifiable, making it mandatory for all government and private health facilities to report all cases, the health ministry told Parliament on Friday.
“Union Health Ministry has asked all states /UTs to make Human Rabies a Notifiable Disease so as to made mandatory for all government and private health facilities (including medical colleges) to report all suspected, probable and confirmed Human Rabies cases as per the guidelines formalized by National Rabies Control Program,” junior health minister Bharati Pravin Pawar said in the Lok Sabha.
The department of animal husbandry and dairying has enacted the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, which was amended in 2010. It is to be implemented by local authorities to control the population of stray dogs. The main focus of the rules is on anti-rabies vaccination and neutering of stray dogs to stabilize their population, she said.
In addition, the animal welfare board has issued several guidelines and advisories to the state governments for proper implementation of the Animal Birth Control Programme.
The health ministry launched the rabies eradication plan in collaboration with the ministries of fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying, agriculture and farmers welfare, panchayati raj, and housing and urban affairs, and the Niti Aayog, the government’s think tank.
The main objectives are to prepare an action plan for elimination of rabies; strengthen the states for its implementation; and strengthen capacities of public health and veterinary services and local governing bodies.
It also aims to identify and support activities that would eliminate dog mediated rabies, including continuity of prevention of human rabies, and effective, quality assured and accessible vaccination for all who need them.
A national joint steering committee has been constituted to this end and the states have been asked to constitute state level committees for effective implementation of the action plan.
The Centre also supports the states and union territories related activities under the National Health Mission to control rabies, Pawar said.
“Government of India has also approved additional activities under NHM on 7th September 2022 which includes: budget provision for procurement of Anti-Rabies Vaccine/Anti-Rabies Serum for animal bite victims through National Free Drug Initiative; capacity building through trainings of medical officers and health workers under NRCP; rabies awareness and Do’s and Don’ts in the event of animal bites; monitoring and surveillance (review meetings, travel) and printing of formats for monitoring and surveillance,” she said.