ISLAMABAD-Rabies is a deadly disease and there is a need of launching a comprehensive campaign to educate the general public in this regard, while strong surveillance system, timely access to vaccine and management can save the lives, speakers said on Tuesday.

In connection with World Rabies Day, the National Institute of Health organised an awareness seminar and walk with the theme of “Rabies: Vaccinate to eliminate’’. The purpose of event was to sensitise the general public regarding rabies, its control and prevention.

During the seminar, Dr Farooq Ali Tahir said that rabies occurs after bite of a rabid animal, usually a dog. This disease is always fatal and there is no treatment available if someone develops it. Although this disease is incurable yet, taking wound care promptly after dog bite and using standard vaccines in time can prevent it.

On this occasion, Maj. Gen. Dr. Aamer Ikram, Executive Director said that rabies is a deadly disease and urged that there is a need of launching a comprehensive campaign to educate the general public in this regard. He emphasized that the strong surveillance system, timely access to vaccine and management can save the lives.

He also said that the NIH was presently producing cell culture anti-rabies vaccine and anti-rabies serum. Both products are being supplied as per their demand, to public sector institutions of all provinces and regions of Pakistan. Keeping in view the increased demands, NIH is in process to enhance the production capacity for ARS. NIH also provides diagnostic facility for Rabies Antibodies Titre (RAT) after vaccination. He also praised the efforts made by the Ministry of National Health Services Regulation and Coordination to strengthen the Public Health System. At the end, heads of different divisions of the NIH, students of College of Medical Laboratories Technology (CMLT), fellows of Field Epidemiology Laboratory Training Program (FELTP) and senior officers of the institute participated in the walk. The NIH also distributed printed awareness material to the educational institutes and general public. Separately NIH also issued its 46thSeasonal Awareness and Alert Letter (SAAL) for epidemic-prone infectious diseases in Pakistan. The main purpose of SAAL is to alert all concerned health authorities and professionals at all levels and to facilitate them for timely and efficient response to the outbreaks/ epidemics. This letter is developed for winter season from October, 2019 to February, 2020.

In this letter, NIH exhibited patterns of high priority communicable diseases including CCHF, Chikungunya, Dengue, Diphtheria Leishmaniasis, Malaria, Pertussis, Polio, Seasonal Influenza and Typhoid Fever.

These diseases are predicted to be on high alert during said season. It also contains detailed introduction of diseases, case definitions, infectious agents, modes of transmission, case management and prevention.