A global study on canine rabies has found that 160 people die every single day from the disease. The report is the first study to consider the impact in terms of deaths and the economic costs of rabies across all countries. Even though the disease is preventable, the study says that around 59,000 people die every year of rabies transmitted by dogs.
The multi-author study, by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control’s Partners for Rabies Prevention Group, also shows that annual economic losses because of the disease are around 8.6 billion US dollars, mostly due to premature deaths, but also because of spending on human vaccines, lost income for victims of animal bites and other costs.
“This ground-breaking study is an essential step towards improved control and eventual elimination of rabies,” says Professor Louis Nel, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC). “An understanding of the actual burden helps us determine and advocate for the resources needed to tackle this fatal disease.”
Led by Dr Katie Hampson of the University of Glasgow, the study is the first to estimate the impact of canine rabies and the extent of control efforts in every country in the world.
Dr Hampson explains, “The breadth of data used in this study, from surveillance reports to epidemiological study data to global vaccine sales figures, is far greater than ever analysed before, allowing this more detailed output.”
The study finds that overwhelmingly the greatest risk of canine rabies is in the poorest countries; the death rate (deaths / 100,000 people) is highest in countries in sub-Saharan Africa, while India has the highest number of fatalities, with over 20,000 human deaths annually. The proportion of dogs vaccinated is far below that necessary to control
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