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June 26, 2019

Boy from Thatta becomes 11th victim of rabies


June 26, 2019

A 12-year old boy from Thatta died within an hour of his arrival at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) on Tuesday due to full-blown rabies encephalitis, officials said.

“Kashif Sohrab, a resident of the Thatta district, was brought to the JPMC casualty today evening with full-blown rabies, who died within an hour of his arrival. The poor boy was bitten by a rabid dog a month back but he was not given the anti-rabies vaccine,” said Dr Seemin Jamali, the executive director of the JPMC.

With the death of another boy, the number of deaths due to the dog-borne lethal disease had surged to 11 this year in Karachi alone, officials said, adding that six children died at the JPMC while five people, mostly children, passed away at the Indus Hospital.

Rabies encephalitis is a dog-borne viral illness, caused mostly by the biting of stray dogs and if the anti-rabies vaccine (AVR) 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 the ARV after Indian companies reduced their supplies to Pakistan, citing a growing global demand and lesser production and an increasing number of dog-bite cases.

Dr Jamali said 6,000 people had been brought to the JPMC this year so far, who were bitten by stray dogs and were given the vaccine and immunoglobulin at the hospital’s dog-bite centre. The Indus Hospital Karachi treated over 7,000 dog-bite patients with the ARV and immunoglobulin shots, said Dr Naseem Salahuddin, head of infectious disease at the hospital.

Over 85,000 cases

As many as 85,000 people, mostly children, have been bitten by stray dogs in the first five months of the current year in Sindh 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 at three tertiary-care hospitals of Karachi during this period,” Dr Solangi said.

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