Following cases of rabies in wild animals, containment measures in two villages on the edge of the Kerala forest

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Disease confirmed in jackal and dhole at Kuttiyani in Thiruvananthapuram, Thottapuzhaserry-Charalkunnu in Ranni

Disease confirmed in jackal and dhole at Kuttiyani in Thiruvananthapuram, Thottapuzhaserry-Charalkunnu in Ranni

Wild animals occasionally contribute to rabies cases in villages on the edge of Kerala’s forest, forcing authorities to create “immune buffer zones” in these areas.

Recently, rabies was confirmed in a jackal and a dhole in Kuttiyani in Thiruvananthapuram and Thottapuzhaserry-Charalkunnu area in Ranni in Pathanamthitta. The wild animals had attacked many domestic animals, including dogs and cattle, in the area before dying. Rabies was confirmed in both cases in tests carried out at the National Institute of Animal Diseases, Palode on 22 October. A horse was also bitten by the rabid animal in Pathanamthitta, according to officials from the Directorate of Animal Husbandry.

Incidentally, the state government last month launched a massive campaign to vaccinate street and companion dogs in the state following reports of an increase in street dog attacks and a few cases. deaths from rabies. All local state agencies have been asked to undertake mass vaccination programs.

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Recognizing the possibility of a rabies outbreak, Management initiated disease containment operations in Kuttiyani and Thottapuzhaserry-Charalkunnu regions following the incidents. Vaccination of all dogs in the area, including strays, and the provision of booster doses to those previously vaccinated would be undertaken as part of the “Containment Dog Vaccination Campaign”. Instructions were issued to isolate and treat animals that would have been bitten by rabids even if they had received post-exposure treatment. These animals will be monitored for signs of rabies and tested for rabies, according to a senior official.

Follow-up surveys should be carried out periodically in both localities. Genomic sequencing of the isolated rabies virus and identification of the wildlife species involved will be undertaken to identify wildlife reservoirs, the official said.

Vaccination of livestock against rabies has been recommended in these areas, which should be considered high risk areas. Extensive awareness programs on the risk of rabies in wild animals and the need to vaccinate domestic animals will be undertaken among the public and owners of forest edge animals, the official said.

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