An epidemiological study of animal bites in India: results of a WHO sponsored national multi-centric rabies survey.J Commun Dis. 2006 Mar; 38(1):32-9.JC
This was a WHO sponsored national multi-centric rabies survey and one of its objectives was to find out the incidence of animal bites, anti-rabies treatment practices, Pet dog population and their care. Twenty-one medical colleges chosen with geoscatter representation conducted the survey during February-August, 2003. The survey was conducted in 18 states, covering a population of 52,731 chosen randomly from 8500 households. The annual incidence of animal bites was high, 1.7% and it was more in rural areas (1.8%), children (2.6%) and poor/low income group (75%). The main biting animal was dog (91.5%), mostly stray (63%), followed by cat (4.7%). A high proportion of bite victims did not wash their wounds with soap and water (39.5%), preferred Government hospitals (59.9%) and nerve tissue vaccine (46.9%). The use of rabies immunoglobulin was low (2.1%). A single animal bite episode led to a loss of 2.2 man-days and the cost of medicines including anti-rabies vaccine was Rs.252 (US$6). The recourse to indigenous treatment (45.3%) and local application to wound (36.8%/) was quite prevalent. About 17% of households reported having a pet/domesticated dog and the pet dog: man ratio was 1: 36. Pet dog care/management practices were not satisfactory with a low veterinary consultation (35.5%) and vaccination (32.9%). The situation was slightly better in urban areas. The people also reported the presence (83%) and menace (22.8%) of stray dogs. It is recommended to initiate appropriate community awareness and dog vaccination campaigns and effective stray dog control measures.