Wednesday December 06, 2023

Five-year-old boy dies of rabies at Indus Hospital

April 16, 2023

A five-year-old boy became the first victim of rabies encephalitis as he died at the Indus Hospital Karachi on Friday night, 45 days after being bitten by a rabid dog in Malir area, officials said on Saturday.

“Saand Sadiq, 5, a resident of Malir, was brought to the Indus Hospital in a precarious condition on Friday, who was diagnosed as a full-blown case of rabies encephalitis. The boy was bitten by a rabid dog some 45 days back, but he did not receive even a single dose of the anti-rabies vaccine,” an official of the Indus Hospital told The News.

It is the first death due to rabies encephalitis in Karachi this year, Sindh health department officials said, adding that last year, around 31,000 people were bitten by stray dogs, and four of the victims died.

An Indus Hospital official said around 3,500 people, mostly women and children, had been treated for dog-bites at the hospital till April 15, 2023. He said the victims were given the anti-rabies vaccine, and in severe cases, immunoglobulin was also administrated to the patients.

“Every day, around 30 to 35 new cases of dog-bite are reported at the Indus Hospital Karachi, which shows the severity of the situation,” the official added.

Officials at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) said that so far around 4,500 people had been treated at the hospital’s emergency after being bitten by stray dogs in Karachi, adding that fortunately, not a single case of full-blown rabies had been reported at the hospital.

“Daily around 60-70 new cases of dog-bite are reported at the JPMC’s casualty department, who are treated for the wounds and given the anti-rabies vaccine as well as immunoglobulin,” Dr Nausheen Ahmed, head of the JPMC’s emergency department, said. She said the JPMC was the only health facility in the city where victims of dog-bite incidents were treated and administrated the vaccine round the clock. She urged the people to bring victims of dog-bite to the JPMC’s emergency for first aid as well as for vaccination.

“If a person is bitten by a stray dog, his or her wound must be washed with soap and running water and then the patient should be taken to a health facility for dressing and administration of the anti-rabies vaccine. Deaths due to rabies encephalitis only occur when victims of dog-bite are not given the vaccination on the first day, followed by three more doses,” she added.