Rabies is an important zoonotic disease that causes several thousand deaths in Asian countries. Bangladesh launched an elimination programme in 2010 based on the mass vaccination of dogs, management of dog bites, application of post-exposure prophylaxis and communication and social mobilization. The aim of this study is to ascertain the behaviour of and knowledge about dog-bite victims. A cross-sectional descriptive study was performed on 885 dog-bite victims who presented themselves for post-exposure rabies vaccination to six randomly selected vaccination centers, in addition to a tertiary-level hospital in Bangladesh. Most dog-bite victims were male (70%) and with very low or no education qualifications (75%). Respondents' knowledge of rabies was low: 58% were unaware of the consequences of a dog bite and 52% did not know about any indication of rabies. Most knew that rabies in humans can be prevented after dog bites, but up to 70% did not give a correct answer for other questions related to the prevention and treatment of rabies. Knowledge and attitudes about rabies is closely related to level of education. Finally, 58 of those surveyed (6.4%) did not complete the post-exposure prophylaxis correctly. In conclusion, knowledge about rabies among Bangladeshi citizens is low. An intensive plan to inform and educate people about dog bites, the risk of rabies and measures to adopt for preventing the disease should be implemented in order to reduce risk, including the need to complete post-exposure treatment.
- Dog bites
- Post-exposure prophylaxis