islamabad - Rabies is causing around 5000 deaths annually in the country while National Institute of Health (NIH) is in the process of establishing a surveillance system for reporting the cases, Friday. The statement issued said that according to Global Alliance for Rabies Control, over 59,000 people die of rabies every year, worldwide, and millions have to seek life-saving treatment. In Pakistan rabies causes 2000-5000 deaths annually.

Rabies is a zoonotic disease that spreads to people through close contact with infected saliva via bites or scratches. Dogs are major source of human rabies deaths. The World Rabies Day is observed every year on September 28 to raise awareness about rabies prevention. In this connection the National Institute of Health (NIH) also organized a walk and a series of awareness seminars for the students of different universities of Rawalpindi/ Islamabad with the theme of “Share the Message: save a life”. Executive Director along with all staff, students of College of Medical Laboratories Technology (CMLT), senior officers of the institute and WHO officers/ consultants participated in the walk. The Mobile Unit of NIH was sent to distribute printed awareness material to the educational institutes and general public. On this occasion, Brig Dr Aamer Ikram, Executive Director said that recently Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination along with NIH notified rabies as a ‘priority zoonotic disease’.

“Now we are in process to establish a surveillance system for the reporting of rabies cases all over the country. He also emphasized on provincial coordination in elimination of rabies.” 

Talking about the role of NIH, he said that NIH is producing Cell Culture Anti-Rabies Vaccine and Anti-Rabies Serum. This Vaccine is supplied to government hospitals and dispensaries throughout the country on a demand base. He also praised the efforts made by the Ministry of National Health Services Regulation and Coordination to strengthen the Public Health System.