Goa's Claim Of Rabies-Free Status Shattered After Recent Death

Goa's Claim Of Rabies-Free Status Shattered After Recent Death

Health authorities announced that the death had occurred in September last year, a woman from North Goa succumbing after contracting it following a dog bite.

THE GOAN NETWORKUpdated: Sunday, July 07, 2024, 04:05 PM IST
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Panaji: When World Rabies Day will be observed in September this year, Goa will be unable to continue claiming it is “rabies free” something it had got used to doing after enjoying that status for five successive years.

For, on New Year’s day this year, Goa’s health authorities reported its first human death in more than five years from the fatal disease transmitted to humans by animals, mostly dogs.

About The Death

Health authorities announced that the death had occurred in September last year, a woman from North Goa succumbing after contracting it following a dog bite.

This was just after Goa had finished celebrating the distinction of becoming India’s first ‘rabies free’ State - a status conferred when rabies in humans is eliminated for five successive years.

Worse, news has now just trickled in that Mission Rabies, the organisation which oversees Goa’s rabies control programme, has recorded the fourth case of rabies in dogs this year alone. Two of these were reported last week from the island village of Divar -- the first in a stray and the second case was of a pet dog.

Mission Rabies Back Into Action

The development has spurred Mission Rabies into action. An intense drive to vaccinate the canines on the island has commenced and in the next couple of days the team hopes to cover the 1500 strays it has mapped, according to Dr Murugan Appupillai, director (education) at Mission Rabies.

Prior to the two dogs detected with rabies in Divar earlier last week, the two others were in Bicholim in February and more recently in June at Thivim.

Dr Appupillai believes the Divar cases are linked to Bicholim and has urged people to be vigilant and report any case of canines suspected to be infected anywhere in Goa.

Vigilance over rabies is a global exercise and according to WHO, it kills some 59,000 people each year with one-third of these deaths accounted for by India.

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