There are a fair amount of stray dogs in our area and after Swetha’s timely post, I did a bit of reading on it. Specially as my daughter voiced some reluctance to use a particular road because of the numerous dogs in that lane. I discovered a disturbing statistic. According to WHO figures, one person is bitten every two seconds by a dog in India and one person dies every 30 minutes from rabies!
To make matters worse, I realised there there is a shortage of the rabies vaccine all over India. Here are news reports from Maharashra, Kerala, and Manipur.
And this situation when rabies is a fatal disease. As this Bharat Biotech site says:

1) Once clinical symptoms have occurred, the disease is almost invariably fatal.
2) Although all age groups are susceptible, Rabies is most common in people aged below 15 years, with 30%–50% of post-exposure treatments given to children aged 5–14 years.
3) Rabies is currently an incurable disease. No tests are currently available to diagnose rabies infection in humans before the onset of clinical disease.
4) Treatment should therefore be implemented promptly in every case suspected of infection with rabies virus. To prevent a fatal outcome, therapy must be initiated before the virus reaches the central nervous system and clinical signs appear.

So what is our government doing about the shortage of this life saving vaccine? A recent TOI report (I couldn’t get it online) says that the Union and State governments are squarely to blame for this sorry situation. Apparently we have enough vaccine being manufactured, but the problem is of supply! This is what the report says:

Six of the institutions (which manufacture the vaccine), including the government-run Pasteur Institute of India at Coonoor have an installed capacity to produce 197 lakh doses of ARV. In 2005-2006, while they produced 134 lakh doses, the demand was for 112 doses. The following year the figures were worse. As against the production of 169 lakh doses (till Aug 2006) the demand was for 27.5 lakh doses and the supply to hospitals was less – at 0.7 lakh doses…the figures clearly show that the production of ARV is quite high. The real hitch is in the supply chain…

Groan. Why do we have to put up with this inefficiency from the government?

(Photo sourced from dogexpert.com)