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Risk of rabies among animals rising in Chitwan

  • In Bharatpur, 12 animals have died because of rabies in a span of just eight months
- PRAMITA DHAKAL, Kathmandu

May 8, 2019-

The risk of the rabies virus spreading among animals in Chitwan district is currently high. According to Veterinary Hospital and Animal Service Centre, Chitwan, six animals have died in the last two months due to the virus.

In Bharatpur, according to Animal Service Centre, 12 animals have died because of the viral disease in a span of just eight months.

Rabies is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain in mammals, including humans. As the animals diagnosed with the disease can transmit the virus to humans, human beings are also at high risk. Bijay Kumar Shrestha, senior animal doctor at the centre, said that the concerned authority should adopt immediate measures to curb the spreading of the disease.

“The disease is transmitted from dog- and fox-bites,” Shrestha said. “And as these animals move about, the risk of the disease being transmitted to another being is higher.”

The rabies virus transmitted from the bite of a dog is called urban rabies, while rabies transmitted from the bite of wild animals is called sylvatic rabies.

“Rabies vaccines are occasionally administered to street dogs,” Shrestha said. “But it’s not possible to vaccinate wild animals.” But instances of wild animals frequenting human settlements has risen in recent years, which means the risk of sylvatic rabies has also risen. Recently, some domesticated animals died of rabies after they were bitten by jackals.

The centre sent the head of the dead animals to the Livestock Disease Research Laboratory, Kathmandu.

Out of 29 wards in Bharatpur Metropolitan City, the rabies virus was detected in cows, buffaloes and goats in ward 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 18, 25 and 27.

Dr Santosh Ghimire, Officer at the Livestock Development Office in Bharatpur, said that infection was detected in animals of six wards. He said that the rabies vaccine was administered to 500 animals in those wards. Ghimire said that measures must be adopted to prevent this disease from transferring to other people.

“Animals or human beings infected with the rabies virus die within two to three days,” Shrestha said. “The only treatment is to administer the rabies vaccine.” He said that one should immediately go to the hospital for treatment in case of bite(s) from infected animals.”

According to him, the rabies vaccine should be administered to domestic animals two times in a year to prevent rabies outbreak.

The local units administered rabies vaccine to animals free of cost at the recommendation of the ward offices. Though the rabies vaccines for animals are manufactured in Nepal, the country has stopped manufacturing rabies vaccines for human beings. Dr Saroj Chaudhary, of National Vaccine Production Labor-atory, said that Nepal had been producing rabies vaccines for human beings since 1986 bringing it to a halt in 2006, for lack of new technology.

According to the data of World Health Organization, every year around 55,000 people lose their lives to rabies across the world.

Published: 08-05-2019 08:25

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