Rabies awareness in eight Asian countries.Vaccine. 2008 Nov 25; 26(50):6344-8.V
Rabies is a deadly zoonotic disease most often transmitted to humans through a dog bite. Human mortality from endemic canine rabies is estimated by WHO to be around 55,000 deaths annually, with over 31,000 deaths in Asia alone, mostly children. Most of these deaths could be prevented through post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), including immediate wound washing, rabies immunoglobulin administration and vaccination. Unfortunately, at-risk populations are not well-informed of the risk of rabies and what to do in the event of an animal bite. In order to identify the main gaps in rabies information and better define the most urgent information actions to be undertaken, the Asian Rabies Expert Bureau (AREB) conducted a multicentre, multi-country survey of patients seeking rabies post-exposure prophylaxis in rabies prevention centres from 1 July 2007 to 31 January 2008, in Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Questionnaires were completed for 4377 subjects in the eight countries. Data was collected regarding the patient, former rabies exposures, the present wound, rabies exposure management, and rabies awareness. Two major issues were identified where active information of the population could make a difference: the necessity to apply appropriate wound care and to consult the nearest rabies prevention centre as soon as possible.