Background: Rabies is a fatal disease of the central nervous system caused by the bites of warmâÂ€Â‘blooded animals. One of the important methods of controlling rabies is by interventions to limit the number of dog bites, the most common source of transmission of rabies to humans in the community. CommunityâÂ€Â‘based data on dog bites are rare from India. Aim: The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of dog bites and knowledge and practices relating to its management and prevention in an urban and a rural slum of North West Delhi, India.Subjects and Methods: A crossâÂ€Â‘sectional house to house survey of 500 households covering a population of 2887 individuals was conducted. The families were selected by systematic random sampling. A pretested and a prevalidated questionnaire was used. ChiâÂ€Â‘square test was applied for comparing proportions related to the categorical variables and tâÂ€Â‘test was used for comparing means. Results: The dog bite incidence rate for the study population for the last year was 25.2/1000 population with higher rates in urban (30.1/1000) than rural (19.6/1000) slum. TwoâÂ€Â‘fifths of the dog bite patients did not wash the wound with soap and water. The practice of washing the wound with soap and water was significantly higher in urban than rural slum. OneâÂ€Â‘fifth of the patients did not receive antiâÂ€Â‘rabies vaccine. There was lower coverage in rural than urban slum. A majority (79.0%) of the patients did not receive antiâÂ€Â‘rabies serum. Conclusion: A high prevalence of dog bites coupled with poor knowledge and dog bite management practices is a worrisome trend which policy makers should take into account to make India rabies free.
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