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Collaborate, Vaccinate’, is the theme for this year’s World

Collaborate, Vaccinate’, is the theme for this year’s World Rabies Day, which is observed on September 28 to raise awareness about rabies. The day marks the death anniversary of Louis Paster, who developed the first rabies vaccine and lead the foundation for rabies prevention.

In view of this, the Tropical and Geographical Neurology Specialty Group of World Federation of Neurology (WFN) in collaboration with Indian Academy of Neurology and Forum for Indian Neurology Education had organized a talk on rabies by Thiravat Hemachudha, professor of neurology at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, during the first session of WFN Neuroinfection Series 2.

Dr Hemachudha, who is doing research on rabies for more than 20 years in collaboration with World Health Organization, emphasized on the importance of pre-exposure and post-exposure vaccination for rabies prevention. He said rabies is the most deadly viral infection with almost 100% mortality and is transmitted mainly by dog bite.

“Patient develops symptoms usually in 20 to 60 days after the bite, but sometimes as late as two years. Patients with furious rabies survive on average for 5-7 days while patients with paralytic rabies survive for 11 days,” he said and added that as there is no treatment, we need collaborative efforts from community, dog owners, educators, media, policymakers, researchers, veterinarians, medical staff and vaccine clinics for control of rabies.

He mentioned that 10% of mice with rabies survived after use of antiviral drug Favipiravir but studies in human are not done yet.

President of WFN, professor William Carroll inaugurated the series containing eight sessions. In his address, he mentioned that the mission of WFN is to promote brain health and quality neurological care worldwide and expressed concern over inequality of neurological care in developing countries.

Carroll congratulated Dr Chandrashekhar Meshram and his team for organizing the educational activity to spread the message of neuroinfections and importance of brain health. He further said that corona pandemic may be a silver lining for learning opportunity through webinars and electronic media.

The session was chaired by professor Raad Shakir, past president of WFN, and professor Wolfgang Grisold, secretary general of WFN.

After the talk, interesting cases were presented by Prakit Anukoolwittaya, Natchawan Tantithanarat and Danist Leosuthamas from Thailand.

While rabies is a 100% preventable disease, there are about 59,000 deaths due to human rabies every year in the world and India alone accounts for 20,000 deaths. This figure could be much higher as many patients die undiagnosed and many are not reported. Of all deaths, 90% are from rural areas.

Rabies is a major public health problem in India and it is endemic throughout the country. In India, due to high population of stray dogs, there is one dog bite every two seconds. Rabies is one of the oldest diseases known to mankind and ideally, no human should die from rabies in the 21st century.

But in India, there is one death due to rabies, every 25 minutes, informed Dr Chandrashekhar Meshram, president of Tropical Neurology Group of WFN and course director of the series. “Vaccination of dogs, access to good treatment after dog bite including vaccination and reducing risk of animal bite are key factors for control of rabies,” he said.

Source: Times Of India

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