World Rabies Day: Rabies killed more people in India in the last 5 years than COVID-19

According to WHO estimates, 20,000 rabies deaths every year in India account for 36% globally – the highest in the world. At a webinar organized by Indian Immunologicals, experts discussed managing animal bites better and how to promote Rabies awareness

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New Delhi: Rabies is an infectious viral disease that is fatal by the time its symptoms start appearing after an animal bite. The WHO estimates the death toll caused by Rabies in India at about 1 lac in the last 5 years with more than 1/3rd (36%) of the total deaths across the globe. Every year in the world, 90% of Rabies deaths occur in the children living in rural areas of Africa and Asia while coming into contact with infected dogs. The number of Rabies deaths are still much above than COVID-19 related deaths reported so far (94,500 as on September 27).
The situation is deep-rooted in India due to the lack of awareness of preventive measures, uncontrolled canine population, insufficient dog vaccination, poor knowledge of proper post-exposure prophylaxis.
Indian Immunologicals Limited, a leading biologicals company, organized a virtual session to address the issue with eminent health experts on the occasion of World Rabies Day. The webinar on the topic of ‘Managing Animal Bites Better – Lets Collaborate, Educate, and Vaccinated’ discussed these issues. The panelist included Padamashree Dr Oomesh Kr. Bharti, Epidemiologist, State Inst. of Health & Family Welfare (Shimla), Dr. M K Sudarshan, Founder President of APCRI, Dr DH Ashwath Narayana, Superintendent of  KIMS (Bengaluru), Dr. Sumit Poddar, Antirabies Consultant (Kolkata), and Dr Shrikrishna Isloor, Associate Prof., Animal & Fisheries Sciences University (Bengaluru).
IIL’s ‘Fearless Against Rabies’ campaign
IIL believes that awareness plays a vital role in rabies prevention. The initiative “Fearless against Rabies”, is a digital campaign intended to create awareness on varied aspects related to Rabies for the public at large and also for medical professionals through multiple mediums. This platform encourages organizations & schools to come forward and collaborate in organizing awareness sessions on Rabies. Through this initiative, IIL also aims to create awareness about pre-exposure prophylaxis among pet owners, children, walkers, runners, veterinarians, animal control & wildlife officers and all other high-risk groups.
While speaking on the handing Rabies, Dr. K. Anand Kumar, Managing Director, Indian Immunologicals Limited said, “IIL is truly a One Health company, playing a significant role in eradicating and providing cost-effective tools for the control of various zoonotic diseases in the country including the dreaded Rabies. As we move ahead there is an acute need of increasing the awareness level among the population at large. On World Rabies Day, several organizations come forward to intensify actions for the awareness of Rabies. IIL’s initiative of ‘Fearless Against Rabies’ is well set to reach out to a larger population on the awareness of preventive measures for rabies.”
“Indian Immunologicals has been a pioneer in making anti-rabies vaccine accessible for both humans and animals. IIL is one of the world’s largest producers of rabies vaccines and a consistent supply of “Abhayrab” anti-rabies vaccine has helped reduce the burden of this deadly disease. This has been possible due to our committed people, wide and robust distribution network, and highly efficient manufacturing and quality systems,” added Dr. Prasanna Deshpande, Deputy Managing Director, Indian Immunologicals Limited.
Indian Immunologicals Limited (a subsidiary company of the National Dairy Development Board) is a leading biologicals player and the world’s largest manufacturer of animal rabies vaccine (Raksharab) and human rabies vaccine (Abhayrab) in the country with 30 Million combined vaccines doses every year from its facilities in India. Recently, the IIL launched eco-friendly packaging of its Rabies vaccines reducing the plastic burden by 160 tonnes per annum.