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SRINAGAR — In a significant development, the Jammu and Kashmir Government has declared human rabies a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897.

As per a notification issued by the Health and Medical Education Department, all government and private health facilities, including medical colleges have been directed to report any suspected, probable, and confirmed cases of human rabies to the respective Chief Medical Officer and the State Nodal Officer of the National Rabies Control Program.

“Rabies is an acute viral that affects all warm-blooded animals including humans and is caused by animal bites having extremely high fatality rate. India accounts for 59.9% of rabies deaths in Asia and 35% of deaths globally,” it said.

However, rabies is completely preventable by timely and appropriate Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). In order to achieve the WHO goal of zero deaths due to human rabies by 2023, it is important to establish a strong surveillance and disease reporting system so that the exact magnitude of the disease can be assured. This will help to develop strategies as per regional condition for prevention, control and elimination of rabies,” reads the notification.

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The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Department Government of India in its letter vide D.O No 2283429/NRCP/DZDP-NCDC/DGHS, dated September 20, 2021 requested all States/UTs to make human rabies a notifiable disease, thereby making mandatory for all government and private health facilities (including medical colleges) to report all suspected, probable and confirmed human rabies cases as per ‘Guidance Document’ for rabies as a notifiable diseases formulated by National Rabies Control Program (NRCP), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.

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“Notification will facilitate contact, tracing and promptly prophylactic measures to prevent infection in other people exposed to the same source,” it states further. “Now, therefore, in the exercise of the powers conferred by section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 (Act No. 3 of 1897), the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir hereby declares ‘Human Rabies’ as a ‘Notifiable Disease’ in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir,” it adds further.

“This notification shall come into force with immediate effect and shall remain valid till further orders,” the notification reads.

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