Upto 150 dogbite cases daily at Teku Hospital

Published On: February 3, 2018 07:26 AM NPT By: Bishnu Prasad Aryal

KATHMANDU, Feb 3: Between 400 to 500 persons rush to the state-owned Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital at Teku of Kathmandu daily after being bitten by dogs or other animals in the Kathmandu Valley. Ninety two percent of rabies cases belong to dog bites, according to health officials.

According to the hospital, the hospital receives altogether 400-500 persons including 100-150 cases of dog bites every day. However, several patients do not take animal bites seriously and discontinue intake of vaccines without completing the full dose.

Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, coordinator of Clinical Research Unit at the hospital, said that dog bites are as major a health problem as heart, and kidney diseases and HIV cases in our country. “It’s a serious health concern but ignored in our society,” said Dr Pun.

Instances of dog bite are more or less the same every day throughout the year, according to the hospital. Ninety-two percent of rabies patients get the disease from dogbite. Besides this, they also receive cases of cat and jackal bites, according to Dr Pun. “Bites by any rabid animal including cow, buffalo and goat can transmit the disease to human beings,” he said.

Though it’s a preventable disease, 16 patients, including one victim of cat bite, died of rabies in the Valley in the last fiscal year. “The victims should be vaccinated at the earliest possible. A dogbite victim should immediately visit the hospital and take vaccines,” said Pun. “But many victims visit the hospital after two-three days or weeks,” he added.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the incubation period from transmission is one to three months, with symptoms of hydro and aero phobia, aggression and pouncing on others. The symptoms of rabies are seen between 30 to 90 days, said Dr Pun. “Once the symptoms are seen, the chance of survival is very slim,” he added. “The symptoms are observed only after the virus reaches the brain of the infected person.”

Patients are treated through two types of vaccinating process -- intramuscular and intra-dermal -- against dog or animal bites. The intramuscular vaccination is administered continuously for five days while intra-dermal vaccination (economic doze) is a four-day course. If the bites are on the sensitive parts of the body such as above the neck, veins and finger tips and multiple bites, the patients need extra treatment, said Dr Pun. “Bites on other parts of the body spread the virus slowly resulting in delayed symptoms.”

“In sensitive cases of animal bite, an immunoglobulin injection is additionally given to the victim,” he added, “People from other parts of the country come here for immunoglobulin injection as it is not easily available outside the Kathmandu Valley.”

The most aggravating fact is that dogbite patients never take it seriously. “They leave vaccination without completing the full course of four or five days,” said Dr Pun. “We request them to complete the course without break,” he said, urging everyone to visit the hospital immediately after dog or animal bites.

Shukraraj Hospital provides free treatment including vaccination to cases of dog or other animal bites. Each doze of the vaccine costs Rs 500 to Rs 600 in private hospitals. “The rich people mostly go to private hospitals,” said Dr Pun. “We are providing free services mainly to the ordinary people, who are very prone to dogbites.”

Animal welfare activist Uttam Kafle of Animal Nepal said that there are more than 20,000 stray dogs in the Kathmandu Valley. However, some reports say that there are over 25,000 stray dogs in the Valley.

Leave A Comment