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Posted at: Apr 3, 2019, 7:04 AM; last updated: Apr 3, 2019, 7:04 AM (IST)

Rabies cure getting costlier in Valley: Study

'Most victims from rural areas'

  • The study was conducted on 429 patients at the GMC between March 2016 and April 2017. It revealed that the “most affected group by rabies were people from rural areas, and every fifth victim of canine exposure is a child of below nine years”

Rifat Mohidin

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, April 2

As the dog menace continues in Kashmir, a study conducted by Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar, shows the economic burden faced by patients of rabies in the Valley.

The study named ‘Economic burden of rabies: An experience from a tertiary care hospital in Kashmir’, was published this month in the International Journal ‘Tropical Disease and Health. The authors, Dr Mariya Qureshi and Dr Mohammad Salim Khan, have recommended the need for controlling dog population through new means. The study was conducted on 429 patients at the GMC between March 2016 and April 2017 and has revealed that the “most affected group by canine rabies were people from rural areas, and every fifth victim of canine exposure is a child of below nine years”. The study further stated that more than half of the victims (55.7 per cent) were economically dependent on their family members. On the expenditure incurred on patients for receiving a post-exposure prophylaxis, it was found to be $29.3.

“We assumed that 20 per cent of the recipients were less than 15 years of age and will need only one vial of rabies immunoglobulin (RIg) as per their body weight, so the total vials of RIg consumed for category III patients was estimated to be 5,926. The cost calculated for RIg amounted to 50,371 USD (Rs 34,75,530),” the study said. The study concludes that in the absence of key interventions like mass dog vaccination, quarantine and facilities to check the infection status of the biting animal, the cost of rabies cure would keep on escalating for individuals as well as the public health sector.

“Keeping in view ethical and legal considerations, dog killing might not be feasible in Kashmir. Other measures of controlling dog population need to be explored. Unlike other parts of India, dog ownership is a big issue in Kashmir because of socio-cultural reasons. Among the zoonotic diseases, rabies remains a primary cause of concern in Kashmir mainly because of the large population of dogs. This has led to an increase in the human-animal contact,” the study concludes.

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