Manipal Centre For Virus Research (MCVR), Manipal Academy of Higher Education, commemorated the World Rabies Day by organising an awareness rally at Manipal on September 27, 2018. The rally was flagged off by Dr Poornima Baliga B, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Health Sciences), Manipal Academy of Higher Education. The rally was lead by Dr G Arunkumar, Professor and Head, MCVR, Manipal The World Rabies Day 2018 theme is “Rabies: Share the message. Save a life”. The day highlights the importance of education and awareness to prevent rabies.
Rabies, also known as mad dog disease, is one of the oldest recorded diseases known to mankind. Transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, all mammals are susceptible to rabies. In humans, rabies is primarily transmitted from dogs. Rabies is a vaccine preventable disease with a vaccine available for human use since mid-late nineteenth century thanks to the works of Louis Pasteur. Currently, pre-exposure (PrE) and post exposure (PE) treatments are available for humans in the form of vaccines and immunoglobulin. Washing the wound (bite or scratch), thoroughly with water and soap immediately after exposure is key is preventing rabies. Rabies vaccination is also available for pets as a 3 dose vaccine.
In India, an estimated 18000 to 20000 die from rabies each year with most being young children often dying outside hospitals. The national centre for disease control (NCDC, India) puts this number at 30,000. Thus, India accounts for almost one-thirds of the global incidence of the disease. Members of lower socio-economic status and children between the ages of 5 and 15 are the most vulnerable populations. Lack of awareness, knowledge and lack of access to proper treatment is the biggest hindrance.
Since 2012, MCVR has commemorated world Rabies Day with an awareness campaign encouraging people to vaccinate their families and pets against rabies. The rally participants distributed leaflets among the public with information on pre-exposure and post exposure prophylaxis and treatment options.