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National Rabies Control Program (NRCP)

The Central Government has launched the National Rabies Control Programme (NRCP) for prevention and control of Rabies recently.

Context:- The Central Government has launched the National Rabies Control Program (NRCP) for prevention and control of Rabies recently.


In India, rabies poses a significant health threat, causing widespread illness and death. The disease is prevalent across the country, with human cases reported in all regions except Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands. Rabies incidents occur consistently throughout the year, and approximately 96% of the associated mortality and morbidity is attributed to dog bites. While cats, wolves, jackals, mongooses, and monkeys also serve as reservoirs for rabies, bat rabies has not been definitively reported in the country. To combat this public health concern, the National Rabies Control Programme was sanctioned as a Central Sector Scheme under the National Health Mission during the 12th Five-Year Plan, approved by the Standing Finance Committee on October 3, 2013.

Program Objectives:

  1. Provide training to healthcare professionals in the proper management of animal bites and the administration of Rabies Post-Exposure Prophylaxis.
  2. Advocate for the adoption and implementation of the Interdermal route for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis in animal bite victims and for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis in high-risk categories.
  3. Enhance the effectiveness of the Human Rabies Surveillance System.
  4. Strengthen the capabilities of Regional Laboratories under NRCP for the diagnosis of rabies.
  5. Foster community awareness through Advocacy & Communication and Social Mobilization efforts.

National Rabies Control Program Strategy

  1. Provision of Rabies Vaccine and Rabies Immune Globulin through National Free Drug Initiative.
  2. Training on proper management of animal bites, prevention and control of rabies, surveillance and inter-sectoral coordination.
  3. Strengthening monitoring of reporting of animal bites and rabies deaths.
  4. Awareness about prevention of rabies.

Program Components at State & District Levels:

  1. Provision of Anti-Rabies Vaccine (ARV) and Anti-Rabies Serum (ARS) to all individuals bitten by animals, extending services up to Primary Health Center (PHC) level through the National Free Drug Initiative.
  2. Capacity building (CB) initiatives for healthcare professionals to enhance expertise in Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis.
  3. Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) campaigns to raise awareness about post-exposure prophylaxis within the general community.
  4. Surveillance & Monitoring: Reinforcement of surveillance and monitoring for human rabies and animal bite cases through review meetings and supervisory visits.
  5. Establishment and strengthening of Anti-Rabies Clinics at district-level health facilities, focusing on service provision, surveillance, counseling, and referrals.
Rabies Control Program
What is Rabies?
  • Rabies is a viral disease. This virus is present in the saliva of animals suffering from rabies such as dogs, cats, monkeys etc.
  • It is caused by the rabies virus of the Lyssavirus genus of the Rhabdoviridae family. It is an RNA virus.
  • According to statistics, about 99 percent of cases in humans are caused by dog bites.
  • Rabies is 100% fatal and 100% preventable through vaccines.
  • India accounts for33% of global rabies deaths.
  • The time period between bites of an animal infected with rabies and the appearance of symptoms of rabies can range from four days to two years, or sometimes more.
World Rabies Day
  • The day is observed every year on 28 September to raise awareness about the effects of rabies virus disease and ways to prevent it.
  • The day is celebrated to mark the anniversary of Louis Pasteur’s death.
  • Louis Pasteur developed the first rabies vaccine and laid the foundation for the prevention of rabies.
  • The theme of this day for the year 2022 is ‘Rabies: One Health, Zero Deaths’.

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