Published Date: 2012-09-26 22:38:33
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Rabies - India (09): (PB) stray dogs, human, susp. RFI
Archive Number: 20120926.1310362
RABIES - INDIA (09): (PUNJAB) STRAY DOGS, HUMAN, SUSPECTED, REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Mon 24 Sep 2012
Source: Times of India, Times News Network (TNN) [summ., edited]
The canine terror prevailing among people in villages of [Patiala] district and city has intensified even as government hospitals have reported non-availability of anti-rabies medicines for the past 3 years.
Residents of many villages of this district have been facing stray dog terror and don't dare to venture out late in the evening, for some time now. Groups of stray dogs can be seen at any time in Patiala city and surrounding villages as authorities have failed to find a solution to this ever increasing problem, despite many school students and others having been attacked by the canines.
Since January 2009, around 7500 cases of dog bites have been reported at various hospitals of the district. Of these, around 3500 have come to Govt Rajindera Hospital, Patiala while dispensaries and health centers of the district have received the remaining cases, sources said.
In many surrounding villages like Banera, Bursat, Surajpur, and other villages, residents have stopped going out in late evening and early morning as many villagers have faced repeated attacks. During the last 2-3 months, around 30 villagers have been attacked by stray dogs. An elderly labourer of Bursat village died after struggling for life in government hospital for many days, while a 5-year girl died in a local government hospital 2 days back.
Deputy medical superintendent of Rajindera Hospital, Patiala, Dr Harshinder Kaur, confirmed that the hospital has not received any anti-rabies medicine for the last 3 years.
"In many villages, people don't go out of their houses for fear of stray dogs. The dogs roam in groups and suddenly attack whenever anyone is moving alone late in the evening. We have requested health authorities to work out a solution for this problem, but there is no action so far," alleged [a resident] of Bursat village.
The school-going children of these villages don't go out alone anywhere and parents have to accompany the children always. The majority of parents don't allow their children to attend evening tuitions. "Without tuitions, getting good marks is impossible in these times. But my father has to accompany me always, with a stick in his hand, to save me from stray dogs," said a 9th class student from Banera village. Despite such a high number of dog bite cases, government hospitals continue to remain without the required medicines and patients are forced to purchase it from private hospitals, sources said.
[Byline: Parvesh Kumar Sharma]
[For the location of Patiala, Punjab, India see http://healthmap.org/r/3wl3. - Mod.AS]
[The statistics are puzzling. Out of 7500 dog bites, at the rate of 30 people in the last 2-3 months, which is apparently an alarming incidence, or say 200 people a year, it would take 38 years to accumulate 7500 bites, not 3. And with nobody vaccinated, only 2 people have died recently of suspected rabies -- perhaps out of those 30 people, not 7500? While it is indeed terrible that no human rabies vaccine has been avaiable, can you imagine the expense if 7500 bitten people had received rabies vaccine? While it is indeed awful to be at risk of dog bites at night, the dogs must be remarkably rabies-free. Can anybody tell us what the numbers of bites and suspected rabies deaths have been recently there? - Mod.CP/JW]