Thursday, 23 January 2014

Rabies on the increase in China as pet dog ownership rises

by Michael Woodhead
Cases of rabies are increasing exponentially in China as more dogs are kept as pets, a study from Henan shows.
Dr Li Guowei and co-researchers from the Zhengzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention say that rabies was unknown in Henan until the 1960s, and there were only about 10 cases a year until the year 2000. However, since then the number of cases of rabies has increased exponentially each year, with more than 100 reported in 2005 . The researchers say the rise in rabies has paralleled the increase in pet ownership as China became more wealthy. About one in four cases is in children who may have been bitten by domestic dogs, the article in Emerging Infectious Diseases notes.
Most patients died within two days of being exposed, and three patients who died had received rabies vaccine after being bitten by dogs.
The high cost of rabies vaccine and the lack of prompt treatment were related to many additional deaths, the researchers said.
“The severity of rabies and its increased incidence present a public health threat, and appropriate control strategies in Henan province are needed. A new rabies control system should be established that includes cooperation of the various health care sectors to provide protection to the public,” they conclude

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