As many as 12,319 persons were bitten by dogs from January till November in the city last year while a whopping 24,299 persons were bitten in the rural areas. Dr N D Deshmukh, district health officer, said among the 13 tehsils in Pune, the highest number of dog bite cases were from Haveli (4,349) Baramati (3,137), Daund (3,091) and Shirur (2,785) tehsils between April and December last year.
While data are yet to be compiled for the number of cases of dog bites in 2013, according to Dr K Anil Roy, Medical Officer of Health, Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, 10,892 persons were bitten by dogs in 2012.
Six deaths due to rabies, out of the total 19, have been registered last year by PMC. With one more death of a four-month-old boy reported from Phaltan, district health officials say primary health centres can only provide basic treatment like vaccination.
“Catching stray dogs is a huge task in the rural areas as the veterinary department has few clinics here. For instance, veterinary clinic has to cater to 40 villages and catching a stray dog for sterilisation and vaccination is a mammoth task,” a senior district health official said.
In the city, civic authorities can spot the stray dog, catch, vaccinate, sterilise and release the dog unlike in rural areas where it is difficult to locate, health officials said. PMC health officials have stepped up ward-wise sterililisation and vaccination of dogs. From September, till date 2,993 dogs have been sterlised and vaccinated, Dr Anjali Sabne, Deputy Medical Officer of Health, PMC, said.
Officials explained that the increase in the number of dog bite cases reported was due to the PMC project to provide intra dermal injections since the last two years at the PMC-run hospitals. The costly Rabies Immunoglobulin is also available at eight maternity homes and at least 11,000 doses have been procured, PMC health officials said.
The PMC has allocated a sum of Rs 1 crore to set up two more dog pounds and we are identifying suitable locations, Sabne said. Fund allocation for animal birth control programme has been increased from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 80 lakh,” Sabne said.