KARACHI: A 12-year old boy from Thatta died within an hour of his arrival at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) on Tuesday due to full-blown Rabies Encephalitis, officials said.
“Kashif Sohrab, a resident of Thatta district was brought to JPMC casualty today evening with full-blown Rabies, who died within an hour of his arrival at the health facility. The poor boy was bitten by a rabid dog a month back but he was not given Anti-Rabies Vaccine”, said Dr. Seemin Jamali, the Executive Director of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) while talking to The News on Tuesday.
With the death of another boy due to Rabies Encephalitis, the number of deaths due to dog-borne lethal disease have surged to 11 this year so far in Karachi alone, officials said, adding that six children died due to full-blown rabies at JPMC while five people who were mostly children succumbed to lethal viral illness at Indus Hospital this year.
Rabies Encephalitis is a dog-borne viral illness, caused mostly by biting of stray dogs and if Anti-Rabies Vaccine is not administered to the affected person along with immunoglobulin, the patient suffers a miserable death due to hydrophobia and other complications of the disease.
Ironically, Pakistan is facing an acute shortage of Anti-Rabies Vaccine (ARV) after Indian companies reduced its supply to Pakistan, citing growing global demand and lesser production while number of dog bite cases are on the rise due to some NGO’s opposition to killing stray dogs.
Dr. Seemin Jamali maintained that it was the sixth death due to Rabies Encephalitis at JPMC this year while so far 6,000 people have been brought to JPMC this year who were bitten by the stray dogs and were given Anti-Rabies Vaccine and Immunoglobulin at the hospital’s dog bite center.
On the other hand, five persons also died due to Rabies Encephalitis at Indus Hospital, Karachi while the hospital received over 7,000 people with dog bite were given treatment along with Anti-Rabies Vaccine and Immunoglobulin shots at the hospital, informed Dr. Naseem Salahuddin, Head of Infectious Disease at Indus Hospital.
Over 85,000 dog bite cases in Sindh have been recorded in first five months
As many as 85,000 people, mostly children have been bitten by stray dogs in the first five months of the current year in entire Sindh province so far, said Director General Health Sindh Dr. Masood Solangi while talking to The News on Tuesday.
“As many as 70,000 people have been bitten by the stray dogs in five divisions of Sindh excluding Karachi till May 2019. There are reports of 15,000-17,000 dog bite cases reported at three tertiary-care hospitals of Karachi during this period”, Dr. Solangi said adding that dog bite cases were on the rise as compared to last year due to growing number of stray dogs in the province.
According to the data of the dog bite cases, highest number of dog bite cases was reported from Larkana division where 22,822 people were bitten by the stray dogs in first five months of the year, followed by Hyderabad division where over 21,099 people became victims of the stray dogs.
Over 12,215 people were attacked and injured by the stray dogs in Nawabshah Division in the same period while over 6,000 dog bite incidents were reported from Sukkur and Mirpurkhas Divisions.
Sindh health department officials maintained that between 15,000 to 17,000 people became victims of the stray dogs in Karachi’s six districts and added that number of dog bite cases could be much higher as many people go to private hospitals and smaller health facilities which don’t report these cases to the authorities.
Commissioners urged to start killing stray dogs
Citing growing incidence of dog-bite cases in Sindh including Karachi, Director General Health Sindh said he has written letters to the Commissioners of six districts to six divisions to launch strong and efficient campaigns in their areas to get rid of stray dogs so that people could be prevented from bitten by the canines.
“I have written letters to Commissioners of all six divisions of Sindh to start efficient campaigns against stray dogs and get people rid of them as we have difficulty in acquiring Anti-Rabies Vaccine, which is essential for preventing people from developing Rabies Encephalitis and meeting a miserable death”, DG Health Sindh Dr. Masood Solangi said.
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