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Rural areas more prone to rabies.

BEARING testimony to the recent incidents of cruelty towards street dogs, a preliminary investigation of the Union Health Ministry under ' National Rabies Control Programme' has revealed that people living in urban areas are more insensitive and unfriendly to canines in comparison to rural areas.

While cases of dog bites and rabies witnesses a rise across the country, rural people are friendlier to street dogs making them more vulnerable to dog bites and thus rabies, the report found.

The pilot project of dog survey is being implemented by the Animal Welfare Board of India ( AWBI) under Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change that has been commissioned by Union Health Ministry. The pilot project report, which is underway, would later be implemented all across India considering its model.

" The final numbers of dogs as identified by the survey team are un- owned street dogs ( 935,480), owned street dogs ( 942,723), owned and confined dogs ( 658,226), total street dogs ( 1,878,203), total confined dogs ( 658,226) and total number of dogs ( 2,536,429)," said Dr RM Kharb, Chairman, AWBI. " While in urban areas, on an average there are approximately 10 dogs per 100 people in the state of Haryana, rural areas have 3 dogs per 100 people. The data that we have accumulated indicates that there is a strong inverse relationship between the number of dogs per 100 people and the density of the human population," he said.

The AWBI during its investigation has also compiled a data that in the densest part of Mumbai have only around 0.3 dogs per 100 whereas the less dense parts have around 0.75 dogs per 100 people. In Jamshedpur, the densest part of the city has 1 dog per 100 people and the least dense has 6 dogs per 100 people.

" In Haryana, the densest cities have 1.9 dogs per 100 people but the small ( least dense) villages have 8.9 dogs per 100 people. This variation in dog numbers has obvious implications for dog management. In urban areas people are cruel and dislike street dogs because they understand the burden of rabies and nuisance the dogs cause. Moreover many puppies die under vehicles. Rural population is unaware of the disease and its consequences," Kharb said.

The National Rabies Control Program approved during 12th Five Year Plan has an objective to prevent the human deaths due to rabies and to prevent transmission of rabies. Mass sterilisation of dogs has also been started by the government in all states.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:May 8, 2016
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