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20 times increase in dog bite incidents in Bihar: Economic Survey

The report, however, did not mention the number of rabies cases usually transmitted by a bite from an infected animal, including dogs.
Last Updated 25 February 2024, 07:27 IST

Patna: Bihar has witnessed a more than 20 times increase in dog bite cases compared with the previous year, according to data released by the state's latest economic survey.

The Bihar Economic Survey (2023-24) released by the state government has identified dog bite as the most prevalent disease in the state.

According to the report, a total of 2,07,181 people suffered dog bites in the year 2022-23 whereas the total number was just 9,809 in the year 2021-22.

Analysis of the data reveals that on average 600 people become victims of dog bite in Bihar every day. The second most prevalent disease in the state, as per the report, was malaria. The state witnessed 45,532 cases of malaria in 2022-23, the report said.

The report, however, did not mention the number of rabies cases usually transmitted by a bite from an infected animal, including dogs.

According to the World Health Organisation report, "Dogs are the main source of human rabies deaths, contributing up to 99 per cent of all rabies transmissions to humans. The incubation period for rabies is typically 2–3 months but may vary from one week to one year, depending on factors such as the location of virus entry and the viral load."

As per the report the state capital, Patna, reported total 22,599 incidents of dog bites, highest in Bihar in the year 2022-23, followed by Nalanda (17,074), Gopalganj (15,253), Vaishali (13,110), West Champaran (11,291), East Champaran (9,975), Madhubani (8,401), Araria (6,710).

Nawada district reported 6,234 cases of dog bites followed by Sitamarhi (6,198), Jamui (5,851), Jehanabad (5,683), Bhojpur (5,323), Madhepura (5,169), Darbhanga (5,023).

The districts that witnessed less than 2,000 reported dog bite incidents in 2022-23 include Kaimur (33), Aurangabad (435), Buxar (686), Muzaffarpur (1,258) and Khagaria (1,916).

In January 2023, a stray dog allegedly went on a biting spree and attacked more than 80 people in Bihar's Arrah in Bhojpur district.

Commenting on the state capital (Patna) reporting the highest number of dog bite incidents, Animesh Kumar Parashar, Patna Municipal Commissioner (PMC), told PTI, "We are aware of the fact and will soon intensify our drive to check such this menace as per the existing norms. The PMC is also going to engage non-government organisations for the purpose."

Echoing a similar view, Shekhar Anand, Municipal Commissioner, Nalanda, the district which reported the second highest number of dog bite incidents in Bihar, told PTI, "We have our dedicated and trained team of municipal employees to curb his menace. We have already intensified the drive against the stray dogs in the city." Expressing his concern over the stray dog menace in the state, Patna-based medical practitioner, Dr Manoj Kumar, told PTI, "The survey report should have mentioned the number of rabies cases usually transmitted by a bite from an infected animal, including dog. How can dog bite incidents be termed as a disease? Rabies is a disease …it's a dangerous virus that causes brain inflammation. Animals can spread rabies to humans through bites and scratches." The incubation period for rabies may vary from one week to one year, he said, adding authorities concerned must take adequate measures to check incidents of dog bites in the state.

Managing Director for Humane Society International/India Alokparna Sengupta told PTI, "Authorities concerned in Bihar must work on controlling human-animal conflict to curb incidents of dog bites. Besides, the government must work towards effectively implementing the Animal Birth Control Programme in the state which will certainly help in curbing dog bite incidents." "The Prevention of Cruelty (Animal Birth Control) Rules 2023 rules have already been notified by the central government to address these challenges," she said.

The new rules give a humane approach that balances out the welfare of dogs while taking into consideration the concerns of humans, she added.

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(Published 25 February 2024, 07:27 IST)

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