City gets new rabies testing laboratory

A rabies diagnostic laboratory, an exclusive unit for study of rabies, was started at the Karnataka Veterinary College in the City on Monday.

Earlier, tests for rabies involved testing brain samples taken from the suspect animal. With the latest technology that is adopted at the new laboratory, samples of the dog’s skin and saliva can be used for testing, Dr S Yathiraj, Dean, Veterinary College said.

The laboratory, established at a cost of Rs 50 lakh, has been funded by Crucell, a Netherlands-based Pharma Company.

Dr S Abdul Rahman, president, Commonwealth Veterinary Association, said that a lack of proper planning in addressing the increasing stray dog menace has resulted in “knee jerk” reactions during a crisis. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an international conference on “Strengthening of rabies diagnosis and dog population control in Indian sub-continent,” Rehman said the government should take up the anti-Rabies vaccination and animal birth control programmes on the lines of Pulse Polio vaccination drive.

The lack of a comprehensive plan and information, because there has not been a proper survey of the dog population in the City, has ensured that we have a persistent stray dog menace,” he explained.

The City’s build up in garbage has also turned many dogs hostile as they get their food from dumped trash, which leads to territorial issues and aggression created by the need to protect sources of food. “Every stray dog that bites need not be rabid,” Rahman said.

Dr Yathiraj made a presentation on the role of veterinarians in rabies control. “It is not just the duty of BBMP to monitor stray dogs. There must be equal participation from the Education department on creating awareness among children. Ignorance is one of the main reasons for the rise in stray dog attacks,” he added.

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