LAHORE - University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha has urged the veterinarian, medical doctors, scientists and researchers to close ranks and launch concreted efforts to eliminate rabies.

He was speaking at inaugural session of one-day national workshop on “The Awareness and Field Test for Diagnosis of Rabies” organised by UVAS Department of Epidemiology and Public Health and sponsored by Higher Education Commission.

Earlier, Livestock Dairy Development Department Director General Extension Dr Muhammad Irfan Zahid said, “Rabies is a killer disease which is being caused by 90 per cent dog bite around the globe but it can be prevented through proper vaccination”. He stressed that all government department should evolve multidisciplinary strategy in order to create awareness among general public.

The UVAS VC said that rabies as one of the most lethal zoonotic or animal-transmitted diseases, killing more people each year than Sars, H5N1 and Dengue fever, combined.

Prof Pasha said that the university was making outstanding efforts to ensure the quality of food and feed. For this purpose, two university’s labs accredited from internationally. He said that to ensure the quality of milk it had developed milk adulteration kit and had feed analysis facilities in this regard.

The UVAS dean faculty of veterinary sciences Prof Dr Nasim Ahmad said that rabies virus was widespread in much of the world except Australia and New Zealand. He said, “Rabies is certainly fatal if post-exposure prophylaxis (anti-rabies) vaccination is not administered prior to the onset of severe symptoms. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system eventually causing disease in the brain and death.”

Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Chairman Prof Dr Muhammad Athar Khan said 95 percent of human cases caused by bites from infected dogs were being reported in Pakistan. These cases are preventable through proper vaccination of pet and feral dogs, he said and added that 20,000 deaths took place in India annually. Prof Khan urged artiste community to play their due role to promote rabies prevention and awareness for the sake of remote areas.