In 99% of cases worldwide, the infection is transmitted through the bite of an infected dog. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures, India bears over a third of the global burden of rabies, and accounts for 59.9% of deaths from the disease in Asia, and 35% globally.
Chiron Behring Vaccines Pvt Ltd, based in Ankleshwar, Gujarat, is one of the largest manufacturers of anti-rabies vaccines in the world. With a capacity to produce 15 million doses annually in a WHO pre-qualified plant. Due to excessive demand, the supply of the vaccines cannot be met.
India, which has a stray dog population of perhaps 100 million, is estimated to need 35 million doses of the anti-rabies vaccine. India is estimated to currently face a shortage of about 15 million doses. As a significant chunk of the vaccines produced in the country is exported, which leads to an increase in burden of rabies in the country.
Symptoms include fever, pain, unexplained and unusual pricking or burning sensation at the wound site. The virus spreads to the central nervous system through the nerves, eventually leading to the inflammation of the brain, subsequently resulting in death.
Even so, it is a 100% vaccine-preventable disease, when treatment is given immediately.