CHITRAL - Known as mother of all infectious diseases, rabies claimed lives of tens of people annually every year in Chitral where dogs are kept in large number by the local population for their domestic purpose to protect their livestock against thief of wild animals.

Lack of awareness has been the basic cause for high mortality rate of rabies-infected people while poverty is another potent factor as high cost of anti-rabies vaccines is not in reach of every man.

Despite being worst hit by the deadly disease, the people of Chitral have almost zero knowledge about it until last year when 'Livestock for Life' project of Relief International was launched in the area to control the diseases.

Through awareness campaigns, the people came to know that the hitherto incurable and fatal disease could be easily treated with vaccination soon after biting of dog without loosing anytime before the symptoms appeared.

The project has successfully disseminated the basic information and facts about rabies which is corroborated by the doctors posted in the district health office who said that the affected people now thronged the hospitals in much more number than before.

Dr Mazhar Ali, district health office, recalled that some years ago, two real brothers from Sheshi Koh valley were brought to hospital only when the symptoms had fully appeared rendering them hyperactive and both of them died.

He said that the idea of vaccination of pet dogs and animals has also gained popularity to ward off rabies which is a positive development as its virus (Rabdo-virus) is carried in the saliva of infected animals and transmitted to human being through bites or scratches.