A short report on epidemiological investigation of dog bite cases in association with temperature rise as a part of climate change

Touseef Ahmed, Muhammad Waqas Asghar, Saba khalid, Muhammad Hassan Mushtaq


Background: Rabies is a neglected disease that claims more than 5000 human’s deaths in Pakistan that account for 10% global load of rabies related deaths annually. Dogs are major carriers for this zoonotic ailment in the country. Global climatic changes, especially rise in temperature, is altering ecological niche of reservoir of infectious diseases. Pakistan is among those countries which are most effected by the temperature rise. This rise has a relation in increase in dog bites and subsequent rabies cases to develop.

Methods: Passive data of dog bite cases is acquired from Institute of Public health and were examined for 12 consecutive months. Data analyzed by SPSS software for frequency distribution of dog bite cases in comparison with different months of the year.

Results: Data analysis indicate a positive correlation between temperature rise and dog bites rates. This study found prevalence of 2.56% dog bite cases and seasonality in dog bites.

Conclusion: These finding recommend further study to investigate other factors involved in increase of dog bite cases in high temperature months of years.  In order to develop understanding the reasons of subsequent rabies cases associated with dog bites. Bats are the most sensitive mammals to high temperature and they migrate and even dye due to hike in temperature, which later may become source of various zoonotic diseases including rabies. Carnivorous bats are believed to be primary reservoir for rabies worldwide but Pakistan do not have this bat specie (Desmodus rotundus). However, increase in dog bite and rabies cases with every year suggest to monitor Indian fruit bat (Pteropus giganteus) which are prevalent in Pakistan.  Ecological Niche Model (ENM) should be used for bats to determine their role in rabies ecology in Pakistan.

Keywords: Rabies; Dog bites; Climate shift; Disease ecology; Pteropus giganteus

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