Six bitten by dog in Narowal amid anti-rabies vaccine shortage

By: News Desk      Published: 10:54 AM, 24 Aug, 2020
Six bitten by dog in Narowal amid anti-rabies vaccine shortage

As Punjab is facing a severe shortage of anti-rabies vaccine, more and more dog bite cases are being reported on daily basis from different parts of the province with Narowal being the latest example where a stray dog bit six people, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Three children, who were playing in a street in the Qila Ahmedabad area, are among the victims who have been shifted to a hospital. 

Meanwhile, panic has gripped the area after these cases as locals started efforts on their own to find the dog.

Earlier, 24NewsHD had reported last week that Punjab was facing a severe shortage of anti-rabies vaccine, forcing the provincial chief drug controller to write a letter to the pharmaceutical companies to ensure supply.

The report came amid the rising incidents of dog bite, claiming several lives especially those of children.

Interestingly, this letter was written to nine pharmaceutical companies after the chief drug controller failed in ensuring supply and provision of this necessary item.

The letter mentions that there is severe shortage of anti-rabies vaccine in market which is in a clear violation of the Drug Act, 1976.

It directs the companies registered under the Drug Act, 1976 to ensure ample supply and also explain the reasons behind the current situation.

Moreover, the letter mentions that both local manufacturers and the importers should take necessary steps in this regard.

Unfortunately, Punjab is facing this severe shortage of anti-rabies vaccine despite the fact that around 200,000 cases of dog bite are reported in the province every year.   

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), rabies is a vaccine-preventable, zoonotic, viral disease. And the alarming thing is it virtually 100 percent fatal once clinical symptoms appear.

The WHO also says that domestic dogs are responsible for rabies virus transmission to humans in up to 99 percent of cases. However, it is the stray dogs in countries like Pakistan, which cause this fatal disease. It is spread to people and animals through bites or scratches, usually via saliva. 

Rabies is one of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) that predominantly affects poor and vulnerable populations who live in remote rural locations. But again the people living urban centres [mostly poor neighbourhoods] of Pakistan face this threat.

The WHO also says that rabies deaths are rarely reported globally and children between the ages of 5–14 years are the frequent victims.