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Frequently asked questions on rabies in Dari and Pashto

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Rabies is an infectious viral disease that is almost always fatal following the onset of clinical signs. In more than 99% of human cases, the rabies virus is transmitted by domestic dogs. Rabies affects domestic and wild animals, and is spread to people through bites or scratches, usually via saliva.

Rabies is present on all continents with the exception of Antarctica, but more than 95% of human deaths occur in Asia and Africa.

Rabies is a neglected disease of poor and vulnerable populations whose deaths are rarely reported and where human vaccines and immunoglobulin are not readily available or accessible. It occurs mainly in remote rural communities where children between the age of 5–14 years are the most frequent victims.

The average cost of rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can be the cost of catastrophic expenses for poor populations, since a course of PEP can cost US$ 40 in Africa and US$ 49 in Asia, where the average daily income is about US$ 1–2 per person.

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Factsheet on rabies

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Key health-related statistics

Population (m) 29.7
Health expenditure (% of GDP) 9.5
Adult (15+) literacy rate (%) 34.8
Life expectancy at birth F/M (2010) 63.2-63.6

Sources: Central Statistics office, Afghanistan National health Accounts, Afghanistan Living Conditions Survey, Afghanistan mortality survey. 

Framework for health information systems and core indicators for monitoring health situation and health system performance, 2018

Afghanistan country health profile

Regional Health Observatory

WHO Afghanistan Programme Overview 

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