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October 20, 2019

21 dog-bite patients treated at JPMC


October 20, 2019

As many as 21 cases of dog-bites were registered in Karachi on Saturday, of which 11 incidents took place in Lines Area.

“Since last 24 hours, around 21 people were bitten by stray dogs, including 11 who were attacked by one or multiple dogs in Lines Area alone,” said Dr Seemin Jamali, the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) executive director, while talking to The News.

Dr Jamali added that as many as 635 people had been brought to the JPMC alone in the first 15 days of the current month after they were injured in canine attacks.

So far in 2019, at least 19 people have died in Sindh due to rabies encephalitis, a lethal but vaccine preventable disease, after they were bitten by stray dogs. Hoor Bibi, 55, a woman from Nawabshah, was the latest victim of rabies who breathed her last at JPMC as she developed full blown rabies following a canine attack some five months back.

JPMC officials said March was the most troublesome month this year for the people of Karachi regarding dog bites, when over 1,180 people, mostly woman and children, were injured in canine attacks and brought to the health facility for treatment and vaccination.

In April, 1,049 people were brought to JPMC for vaccination and first aid after dog bites, whereas, 986 victims of stray dogs were brought to JPMC in September, 918 in February, 855 in July, 836 in May, 804 in August and 768 in June.

"As many as 8,800 people have been brought to the dog bite centre of JPMC for first aid and vaccination to date", Dr Jamali said, expressing her fear that if not controlled, stray dog attacks would further rise in Karachi and the rest of Sindh.

Meanwhile, officials at the Civil Hospital Karachi and the Indus Hospital Network also claimed that they too received a total of over 15,000 dog bite victims during the first nine months of the ongoing year. In the entire province, over 10,000 incidents of dog bite were recorded during 2019 so far.

Animal control experts say local bodies need to carry out culling of stray dogs immediately, or else their multiplying numbers would make movement of pedestrians in Karachi impossible in the coming months.

“Provision of anti-rabies vaccine is a secondary issue as we immediately need an anti-pye-dog campaign in the city,” said Sajjad Haider Dara, a former UC nazim and pest control consultant in the city.

He mentioned that dog killing chemical strychnine HCL is an expensive poison which costs Rs300,000 per kilogramme and only few importers in Pakistan have it in stock. "Our municipalities are short of money as per their claim," he said, adding that one kg of strychnine HCL could kill around 1,000 to 1,500 dogs.

Unfortunately, no one was ready to help citizens of Karachi and rid the city of stray dogs which could be easily done in a non-violent manner, Dara added.

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