2,000 people bitten by dogs per day in Sri Lanka

Two thousand incidents of dog bites are reported each day in Sri Lanka, a local English newspaper reported on Sunday.

The Sunday Island quoted officials from the Health Ministry as saying that 28 patients died of rabies while 205 others suffered from the disease in the first six months of 2009.

Of the 205 patients, 172 had been infected from dog bites while the others had contracted the disease from cats, cows, pigs, goats, polecats and foxes.

The government has to spend 500 million rupees (about $4.31 million) each year to treat the victims bitten by dogs with an average of 39,000 rupees (about 336.2 dollars) per person.

Meanwhile, the government has allocated 200 million rupees (about 1.74 million dollars) to the Health Ministry's sterilization program to control the growth of dog population in Sri Lanka.

The government said 20,740 surgical sterilizations and 13,557 chemical sterilizations were made in the first half of this year.

There are 2.5 million dogs in Sri Lanka with 40 percent of them being strays, health officials said.