Trends and clinico-epidemiological features of human rabies cases in Bangladesh 2006–2018

Ghosh, S and Rana, M S and Islam, M K and Chowdhury, S and Haider, N and Kafi, M A H and Ullah, S M and Shah, M R A and Jahan, A A and Mursalin, H S and Marma, A S P and Ali, S M E and Hossain, S and Bhowmik, R and Debnath, N C and Shamsuzzaman, A K M and Ahmed, B-N and Siddiqi, U R and Jhora, S T (2020) Trends and clinico-epidemiological features of human rabies cases in Bangladesh 2006–2018. Scientific Reports (Nature), 10.

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Vaccinating dogs against rabies is an effective means of reducing human rabies. We subjected 1327 clinically diagnosed human rabies death and mass dog vaccination (MDV) data during 2006–2018 to quantify the impacts of MDV on human rabies incidence in Bangladesh and a subset of rabies death data (422) for clinico-epidemiological analysis. A positive and increasing trend of MDV (p = 0.01 and tau = 0.71) and a negative and declining trend (p < 0.001 and tau = −0.88) of human rabies cases (Correlation coefficient: −0.82) have been observed. Among 422 deaths, the majority (78%) of the victims sought treatment from traditional healers, and 12% received post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). The mean incubation period of rabies in cases with exposure sites on the head & neck (35 days) was shorter than the upper limb (mean = 64 days, p = 0.02) and lower limb (mean = 89 days, p < 0.01). MDV has been found to be effective for reducing human rabies cases in Bangladesh. Creating awareness among the animal bite victims to stop reliance on traditional healers rather seeking PEP, addressing the role of traditional healers through awareness education programme with respect to the treatment of dog bites, ensuring availability of PEP, and continuing to scale up MDV may help to prevent human rabies deaths.

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