Shillong, March 19 : A bite a scratch or a lick on an uncovered broken skin by a rabid dog can cause rabies disease in humans which infects the brain and the spinal cord and is 100 % fatal.

Dog bite cases are on the rise every year in the state with 5302 cases reported in 2022 and 9611 cases in 2023. East Khasi Hills District have reported more than 50% of these cases with 2512 cases reported in 2022 and 5085 cases in 2023. More than 80% of the case being reported are from urban areas.

Rabies though 100% fatal is also 100% preventable and the precautions to be taken in-case of dog bite, lick or scratch is to immediately wash the area with soap under running water for 15 minutes and seek medical attention at the nearest health facility for post exposure prophylaxis vaccine. The suspected dog should not be killed but restrained and observed for 10 days and the concerned authorities need to be informed.

Extensive awareness on Rabies cum Free Mass Rabies Vaccination for Dogs was conducted in various localities of Shillong for six days w.e.f 11/03/2024 by the District Joint Steering Committee on Rabies Elimination of East Khasi Hills comprising the District Administration, Health Department, Veterinary Department, Shillong Municipal Board, NGO for animal welfare HUFAN and the Dorbar Shnongs with the mission to achieve 70 % Anti Rabies vaccination coverage among dogs in a defined geographical area annually including sterilization of stray dogs. About 631 dogs were vaccinated in six days (including pets and strays).

High risk individuals who are always in close contact with animals of unknown vaccination status need to receive pre-exposure prophylaxis vaccine against rabies as a preventive measure.