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September 27, 2018

Humane Society International/India marks World Rabies Day through massive vaccination drives in six cities

Humane Society International/India

  • Erin Van Voorhies

HYDERABAD—In observance of World Rabies Day, Humane Society International/India is organizing rabies vaccination drives on the 27th and 28th of September in 14 locations across six cities: Malappuram in Kerala, Vadodara and Jamnagar (Gujarat), and Dehradun, Mussoorie and Nainital (Uttarakhand). Rabies vaccination stalls will be open for pet dogs and street dogs in selected neighbourhoods on both days. In addition, HSI/India will work with local Resident Welfare Associations and housing societies in those cities to raise awareness about street dogs and steps to make communities rabies-free.

An estimated 18,000-20,000 people in India contract rabies each year, and India accounts for 36 percent of human deaths due to rabies worldwide, according to a research report from the World Health Organization. Such a high incidence of rabies infections and fatalities is caused by lack of awareness about the disease, low rates of vaccination among street dogs and inadequate knowledge of post-bite treatment.

“Cases of rabies are totally unacceptable in today’s India. HSI/India is committed to creating better awareness of the fatal disease. Through our vaccination campaign, we aim to connect with residents in six cities to address this issue. Our teams of expert vets, animal welfare officers and community engagement officers will be at each stall to address people’s questions and concerns, in addition to providing free rabies vaccinations for dogs,” says Shikha Jain, community engagement manager of HSI/India.

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“This program is a step towards reducing animal cruelty and increasing understanding of animal behaviour. Through our awareness activities, residents of each city will learn about dog-related concerns, which can make them more empathetic towards street dogs. I strongly feel that such events help people understand more about the issue,” added Mr. Hitesh Patel, president of Vrundavan Park in Vadodara.

World Rabies Day is observed around the globe on September 28 in commemoration of Louis Pasteur, who developed vaccine for rabies. The day is celebrated to raise awareness about the fatal disease, its impact on humans and animals, and steps that can be taken to prevent its occurrence.

Media contact:

Keren Nazareth, +91-99251 80189, knazareth@hsi.org

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