Friday Jun 18, 2021
A 60-year-old man, who declined to get inoculated for rabies after being bitten by a stray dog in Karachi's Korangi district about 45 days ago, has died of the disease (rabies encephalitis) at the Indus Hospital early on Thursday morning, officials said.
“A 60-year-old male patient, Abdul Hameed, was brought to the Indus Hospital last night with full-blown rabies having hydrophobia and aerophobia. Bitten on the leg about one-and-a-half months back in Korangi, he didn't visit any hospital and just applied home remedies. He developed symptoms three days back and died early Thursday morning,” an official of the hospital told The News.
He said that with the latest death, five persons had died due to rabies encephalitis this year at the Indus Hospital, where they had treated and vaccinated over 4,500 people with the anti-rabies vaccine (ARV) and immunoglobulin.
“There is no dearth of anti-rabies vaccine and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment at the Indus Hospital. Only those people are developing rabies encephalitis who don’t get themselves vaccinated after a dog bite or who don’t complete the course of vaccination and treatment,” the official said.
Fourteen persons have so far died due to rabies encephalitis at three Karachi hospitals — Indus Hospital, Civil Hospital Karachi, and the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) — since January 1, 2021, officials said.
During the same time, over 20,735 people have been given emergency treatment and a complete course of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which includes the anti-rabies vaccine and immunoglobulin given immediately after dog-bite incidents around the wound.
Officials at the Civil Hospital said they had received the highest number of dog-bite cases – 11,535, till May 31, 2021. They added that all the patients, mostly women and children, were given the anti-rabies vaccine and immunoglobulin at the health facility.
“Two of the victims of the dog-bite came with full-blown rabies at the CHK this year, who probably did not get the PEP treatment for the dog-bite and died as nothing can be done for a person after the development of rabies encephalitis,” Dr Tariq Sohail, a senior physician dealing with dog-bite cases, said.
He said that last year two people had died due to rabies encephalitis while 17,340 people had been brought to the health facility for PEP treatment. In 2019 no death occurred at the CHK due to full-blown rabies, while 31,482 people had been bitten by stray dogs and given emergency treatment and vaccination.
“In 2018, we had one person who had developed full-blown rabies while 38,721 people were brought to us after having been bitten by stray dogs and given emergency and PEP treatment,” Dr Sohail added.
The JPMC has witnessed the highest number of deaths due to rabies encephalitis this year so far, where seven patients have been provided hospice care after developing full-blown rabies, Executive Director JPMC Dr Seemin Jamali said, adding that they had so far treated and vaccinated over 4,700 people after dog-bite incidents.