… over 840 dogs vaccinated in a week

YK Poudel

After a dead bull tested positive for rabies on July 25 causing public panic, the thromde and livestock officials started mass vaccination the following day. Officials say that the outbreak is under control now.

As of yesterday, more than 840 dogs in the thromde and its neighbouring areas have been vaccinated. The vaccination programme is expected to complete this week.

Phuentsholing Thrompon Uttar Kumar Rai, said that the dead stray bull is suspected to have been bitten by a rabid dog. “Along with the bull were two other cattle currently placed under 45-day period observation.”

“It is difficult for the livestock officials to exactly tell whether the dead bull was bitten by a rabid dog from within the country or from the Indian border as we share a common border,” he said.

A stakeholder meeting was held right after the outbreak was detected and they discussed the control measures. “We have issued public notices and awareness programmes are underway to ensure the public support the initiative.”

On July 27, Phuentsholing thromde issued a public notification on confining the animals and pets in their premises – not adhering to the compliance measure shall be fined. Officials request the public to inform veterinary officials in case of a suspected rabid dog.

Thrompon also shared that stray animals entering the town from across the border could be the source of the outbreak. “As we share a porous border with India, there are chances of rabid bogs entering from the neighbouring areas.”

People can get infected with rabies if they consume raw meat and dairy products from rabid cattle.

National Centre for Animal Health aims to eliminate human rabies deaths by 2030 with mass vaccination programmes.

As per the statistics with NCAH, 40 rabies cases were recorded in the past two years. This year, eight outbreaks in Samtse, Pemagatshel, Samdrupjongkhar, Sarpang, and Chhukha.

With the initiation of the Nationwide Accelerated Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Programme, over 61,000 dogs have been sterilized – with over 58,000 vaccinated against rabies.