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Maharashtra Health Department Declares Rabies as a Notifiable Disease

The Maharashtra health department declared rabies as a notifiable disease on Tuesday. The fatal disease, which spreads through bites from rabid animals, reportedly kills over 20,000 people in India each year.

Doctors and hospitals will now have to notify the health department if a patient suspected of having rabies is admitted, the Times of India said in a report.

“Prevention, control and elimination of rabies from a geographical area can only be achieved through strong surveillance and disease reporting system,” the state notification issued on Tuesday said.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), at least 200 rabies deaths occur in Maharashtra every year but only around 20 are notified to concerned authorities, the report said.

Up to 60 per cent of the rabies cases occur in children under 15 years of age, it said. Rabies most commonly occurs due to dog bites.

The number of dog bites in Mumbai have dropped from 85,438 in 2018 to 61,332 in 2021, and there have been no rabies deaths in the last five years, as per the report.

While in India, rabies has been eliminated in Goa, Andaman and Sikkim, there is a push to eliminate it globally by 2030.

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