New York, Jan 12 : Rabies claims around 20,000 lives in India every year but, in new that cheers, researchers have found a way out to reduce the menace by 90 per cent.
A study focusing on Tamil Nadu found that over the course of five years, vaccinating two lakh stray dogs a year would significantly reduce incidence of rabies at a cost of about $1.27 million annually.
“Our goal was to maximise the impact of vaccination and sterilisation on human health outcomes in the real world, where policy-makers operate within cost constraints,” said Meagan C. Fitzpatrick, lead researcher from the University of Maryland, US.
India accounts for more than a third of the world’s rabies deaths. Stray dogs are common and constitute approximately 42 per cent of the total canine population in Tamil Nadu.
Most of the victims of rabid dogs are children and nearly all deaths occur after they are bitten.
The study that was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences noted that the strategy of vaccination without sterilisation was the most efficient way to reduce death from rabies.