Times of India | 1 week ago | 13-05-2022 | 01:22 am
Panaji: The efforts and toil of hundreds of volunteers as well as officials who spent over seven years to ensure Goa’s dog population is vaccinated against the rabies virus, is now under threat of going to waste. With stray dogs migrating from Maharashtra and Karnataka, the state government recommended that border states take up rabies control along the border talukas of Goa. While the Karnataka government has already started the project through Mission Rabies in the Karwar taluka since last month, Maharashtra is yet to start the vaccination. “We have managed to control the virus in Goa, yet there is constant incursion of the virus from neighbouring states. We had requested officials in Maharashtra to start the vaccination programme but they have not done so. The Goa government has spent a lot of money on this mission and if rabies spreads in Goa again, all our efforts will go to waste,” said deputy director of the Goa Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services (AHVS), Dr Marvin Lopes. “The Maharashtra government must take this seriously instead of delaying the vaccination programme,” he added. As a follow-up to letters from the Goa government as well as discussions by officials here with their counterparts in Maharashtra, Mission Rabies also met officials from the animal husbandry department in Maharashtra. “It is the greatest concern now that the Maharashtra animal husbandry department is not permitting dog vaccinations at the border talukas of Sawantwadi, Dodamarg and Vengurla . This, despite it being fully funded by Mission Rabies,” said Dr Murugan Appupillai, director and officer in-charge of government collaboration, Mission Rabies, who has worked towards the mission in Goa since 2014. Tracking of canine movement at the Maharashtra border is currently being done with technical support from Edinburgh University, UK. “ Last year, Goa officially became the first state in India to beat the virus in a country that sees an estimated 45 lakh cases of people getting affected by rabies annually. From 2018 to 2021 there have been zero human rabies cases in Goa.