Every hour, a child will die from rabies in India.
And that’s the scale of the problem facing two Kirklees vets about to leave for the sub-continent on a dog vaccination drive.
Later this month, Jane Scott and Lindsey Gould, who both work for Calder Vets, will be out on the streets of Goa in a bid to vaccinate 70% of the dog population.
They will also be using GPS to track dogs which have been vaccinated and educating local people about the problem.
“It’s good to raise awareness here at home, but in India it will make a massive difference,” said Lindsey.
“The sub-continent is a real hotspot for rabies.
“One child will die from the disease every hour. We can’t imagine such a situation.
“And it is preventable. We just need to vaccinate 70% of the dog population as 90% of cases are from infected dog bites.
“Traditionally, the people might have dealt with this by having the dogs put down and that could be quite inhumane. And it would only increase spread of rabies as dogs from outside affected areas moved in.
“There is a lot of fear of dogs in India. We aim to educate children and adults about rabies and what can be done to avoid it.”
The pair leave the UK on September 25 and will be away for two weeks as part of a 30-day Mission Rabies vaccination programme using volunteers from various countries.
In 2013, 60,000 dogs were vaccinated in Goa.
“That gives some idea of what we are dealing with,” said Lindsey, who works part of her time in Denby Dale.
Mission Rabies is run by the Worldwide Veterinary Service charity. Calder Vets has helped towards funding and the two vets are also contributing to the cost.
For Lindsey, it is a return visit to India. “I have been with another charity and found it a most interesting country,” she said.
As to the risk factor: “We won’t be at any more risk than the average tourist. The team is highly specialised.
“I am really excited about the mission, albeit with some nerves. But I am keen to go.”