English | Dzongkha Sunday, March 7, 2021

Zero rabies deaths by 2020

Changa Dorji, Thimphu
May 9, 2017

The South Asian nations are aiming for zero human deaths from rabies by 2020. This was revealed at the 3rd Sub Regional Global Framework for Transboundary Animal Diseases meeting held in Thimphu yesterday.

 Except for the Maldives, Rabies is highly endemic in other SAARC member countries including Bhutan. Research shows about 60,000 people die of rabies every year globally and a staggering 45 percent of it are reported in the SAARC region.

Among the SAARC countries, India sees the highest number of deaths caused by rabies with about 20,000 people dying from dog bites every year.  In Bhutan, 17 human deaths from rabies were reported from 2006 to 2016.

Dr. Tenzin, a Veterinary Epidemiologist of the Department of Livestock with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests said rabies is 100 percent fatal but also 100 percent preventable.  He added rabies is endemic in the country’s south owing to the porous border.

Talking about Bhutan’s preparedness to achieve the target of zero human rabies fatality by 2020, Dr. Tenzin said a lot of initiatives are being planned.  Mass dog sterilisation and anti-rabies vaccination will form the key initiatives.

According to Dr. Tenzin, about 60,000 dogs and cats in the country have been vaccinated so far. The country aims to sterilize and vaccinate about 70 percent of the dogs in the country.

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