According to a report put forth by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, around 59,000 people lose their lives every year due to rabies transmitted by dogs, and the poorer regions of the world are worst hit.
Low income countries should take active steps to vaccinate more dogs, and offer affordable vaccines for bite victims more easily.
Rabies is a fatal viral condition, but is nearly completely preventable. This infection can affect all mammals, but domestic dogs are responsible for more than 99% of rabies deaths in humans.
Developed countries like UK have eliminated all rabies ridden dogs from their population, but in many developed countries, rabies is still present in domestic dogs, and is poorly controlled as well.
According to the report, 160 people die everyday from this preventable disease, and a good majority of this come from individuals in Asia (nearly 60%), and Africa (nearly 36%).
India on its own, makes for 35% of the human rabies deaths, which is possibly more than in any other country.
The report also stresses that the number of dogs vaccinated in these countries is far less than necessary, and improving access to human vaccines is also needed in these regions.
“Collaborative investments by medical and veterinary sectors could dramatically reduce the current large, and unnecessary, burden of rabies on affected communities,” the report stated. “Improved surveillance is needed to reduce uncertainty in burden estimates and to monitor the impacts of control efforts.”
In addition, they also reveal that the countries which invested in the most dog vaccinations are the ones in which human deaths due to rabies have been virtually eliminated completely.
“No one should die of rabies and we will continue to work together towards global rabies elimination,” the researchers involved in the report added.