The Maharashtra health department declared rabies as a notifiable disease on Tuesday. The disease spreads through bites of rabid animals and kills over 20,000 people in India each year.
“Prevention, control, and elimination of rabies from a geographical area can only be achieved through strong surveillance and disease reporting system,” the state notification issued on Tuesday said.
Doctors and hospitals will now have to notify the health department if a patient suspected of having rabies is admitted.
As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), at least 200 rabies deaths occur in Maharashtra every year but only around 20 are notified to the authorities.
Rabies most commonly occurs due to non-vaccinated dog bites. Reports state that up to 60 percent of rabies cases occur in children under 15 years of age.
As per the reports, the number of dog bites in Mumbai has dropped from 85,438 in 2018 to 61,332 in 2021, and there have been no rabies deaths in the last five years.
While in India, rabies has been eliminated in Goa, Andaman and Sikkim, there is a push to eliminate it globally by 2030.