Nearly 59,000 people die every year from rabies around the world, a third of them in India.
According to a New York Times article, rabies - transmitted to humans by dog bites in 99% of cases - kills nearly 59,000 people a year worldwide, mostly in Asia and Africa.
40% of rabies victims are children, according to the World Health Organization, which recently announced a campaign to reduce to zero the number of human deaths from canine rabies by 2030.
India is the main victim with nearly 20,000 deaths per year, or nearly a third of the global account.
One of the most deadly diseases
According to The New York Times, "Rabies is the most deadly disease known." The rabies virus enters the human body during a dog bite and then travels to the brain.
In humans, after two weeks in the brain, the virus causes excessive salivation, convulsions, poor coordination of movement, and increased sensitivity to light and sound.
When these symptoms appear, the disease is potentially fatal. But death can be avoided even when a person is already carrying the virus, thanks to a series of bites.
According to the WHO, fifteen people have already survived the disease of rabies after appearance of symptoms. Several of them, however, have retained neurological sequelae.
The New York Times article focuses on an initiative on the island of Goa, on the west side of India: Mission Rabies.
This NGO has already proven itself in Haiti and is now supported by the local government of the island. According to a rabies veterinarian interviewed by the New York Times reporter, Rabies Mission is one of the most effective initiatives in low- and middle-income countries he has seen in the last decade.
This effectiveness is due in particular to dozens of men in yellow t-shirts who were trained to run after the dogs of the island under 40 degrees to vaccinate them against rabies and stop the transmission of the virus.