Dog bites in humans and estimating human rabies mortality in rabies endemic areas of Bhutan

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
TenzinMichael P Ward

Abstract

Dog bites in humans are a public health problem worldwide. The issues of increasing stray dog populations, rabies outbreaks, and the risk of dogs biting humans have been frequently reported by the media in Bhutan. This study aimed to estimate the bite incidence and identify the risk factors for dog bites in humans, and to estimate human deaths from rabies in rabies endemic south Bhutan. A hospital-based questionnaire survey was conducted during 2009-2010 among dog bites victims who visited three hospitals in Bhutan for anti-rabies vaccine injection. Decision tree modeling was used to estimate human deaths from rabies following dog bite injuries in two rabies endemic areas of south Bhutan. Three hundred and twenty four dog bite victims were interviewed. The annual incidence of dog bites differed between the hospital catchment areas: 869.8 (95% CI: 722.8-1022.5), 293.8 (240-358.2) and 284.8 (251.2-323) per 100,000 people in Gelephu, Phuentsholing and Thimphu, respectively. Males (62%) were more at risk than females (P<0.001). Children aged 5-9 years were bitten more than other age groups. The majority of victims (71%) were bitten by stray dogs. No direct fatal injury was reported. In two hospital areas (Gelephu and Phuentsholing)...Continue Reading

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