Call to fight rising rabies menace

KATHMANDU: Experts have sought coordination among the concerned bodies to fight the rising cases of rabies, caused mainly by the stray dogs, in the Kathmandu valley.

Dr Saroj Prasad Rajendra, director of Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, said the hospital had been recording growing number of rabies cases everyday. The director informed that there were around 50 fresh cases of dog-bite and around 150 rabies patients visited the hospital on a daily basis.

Talking to The Himalayan Times, Dr Rajendra argued that preventive measures were more effective than the curative ones with regard to the disease.

She urged the government to adopt effective measures to control the number of stray dogs. "The government should play an effective role to control the number of the stray dogs," said Dr Rajendra.

Dr Babu Ram Gautam, chief of Public Health Department under Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), said they were concerned about the increasing rabies cases. He said they were conducting mass vaccination programme in the affected areas.

According to Dr Gautam, they have a target of vaccinating 10,000 dogs and have already vaccinated around 6,000 among them. He said,"The government was not paying proper attention to the problem."

Dr Kiran Pandey, veterinarian at Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre, informed that they were working to control rabies through 'alliance for rabies control' programme. He said around 90 per cent of the rabies cases were caused by the biting of the stray dogs.

"For the sustainable control of number of the dogs, we are regularly spaying the female dogs," said Pandey. He opposed the use of strychnine to kill the dogs.

According to a report by World Health Organisation, there are as many as 35,000 stray dogs in the Kathmandu valley, 20,500 along the ring-road area alone.