Identification of risk factors is crucial to find ways to reduce rabies deaths. We investigated the hospital records of rabies deceased through contact tracing of the relatives of the victims using enhanced verbal autopsies (VA) to identify why the people had to die from rabies in recent years in Bangladesh. Patients whose deaths were confirmed by physicians based on the history of animal exposure and clinical signs were taken into account for VA. Socio-demographic profile of the deceased, animal exposure, nature of the wound, and history of postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) data were obtained and analysed. The study found 256 cases in which the cause of death was attributed to rabies, most of the victims were male (71.88%), resided in the rural community (80.47%), dependent (49.22%), and children below the age of 15 years (47.27%). Dogs were the single most responsible (81.64%); however, cats (12.11%), jackals (3.91%) and mongoose (2.34%) were also found accountable for rabies incidence (P< 0.05). Significantly, limbs were the most common (67.97%) site of exposure, and the shortest incubation period was identified in the case of bites to head and face (P < 0.05). The majority (86.72%) of the deceased did not receive any PEP; whereas, 66.80% sought treatment from traditional healers. Among the deceased (13.28%, n¼ 34) who had received PEP, only 8.82% of them completed the full course of the vaccination regimen (P< 0.01); however, none of them had history of taking rabies immunoglobulin (RIG). The study recommends extensive public health awareness programs in the rural community and establishing methods to improve healthcare-seeking behaviours, including receiving PEP instead of visiting traditional healers. Moreover, the availability and accessibility of PEP in the government hospital facilities are desirable, and laboratory-based surveillance with compatible rapid data reporting may be incorporated in the existing policy.

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Published on 01/01/2021

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