Health officials on Wednesday said Rabies might spread rapidly in Sri Lanka in 2023 due to shortages in vaccines.
Director of Public Health Veterinary Services L.D. Kithsiri told media that there were no vaccines in storage units in Kandy, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Colombo, and Gampaha districts.
Kithsiri said 28 people had died in 2022 from rabies and out of that, 17 contracted the disease from dog bites.
“We are carrying out vaccination programmes until February using the remaining vaccines in other regional storage units.
“There will be no vaccination from February,’’ he said.
Kithsiri said in 2022, over a million dogs were vaccinated and sterilized adding that 40,000 dogs were female dogs.
“There is no shortage of vaccines given to humans who are hospitalized but this might change really fast if rabies spreads among dogs.’’
According to WHO data, Sri Lanka has achieved a successful reduction of human rabies deaths from 377 in the mid-1970s to 31 in 2021 due to its successful vaccination drive.