A college student in Kerala passed away in the early hours of Thursday, June 30, a month after she was bitten by a dog and was being treated for rabies. Srilakshmi (18), who lived in Mankara area of Palakkad district was bitten by a dog on May 30, when she was on her way to college. She was studying Bachelors in Computer Application (BCA) at a college in Coimbatore, where she was a first year student.
Having taken four shots of anti-rabies vaccine, Srilakshmi did not show any symptoms initially. She began showing symptoms just two days before her death and was first taken to a private hospital in Mankara in Palakkad. She was later admitted at the Thrissur Medical College with high fever. The hospital then said that she had all the symptoms of rabies and began treatment for the same. However, Srilakshmi passed away on June 30.
According to reports, the dog had even bitten its owner on May 29, and a day later, bitten Srilakshmi. The ownerâ€™s condition is said to be stable.
In October last year, the death of a 7-year-old boy from Kasargod district had led to demands of a study into deaths due to rabies, especially among people who had been vaccinated. The 7-year-old boy in the case had taken the first dose of the rabies vaccine after a stray dog had bitten him, but passed away three weeks later.
The rabies virus is a member of the Lyssavirus genus. An anti-rabies vaccine is administered to people after their exposure to a rabies-infected animal. It is given over a period of a few weeks in four doses. The immediate steps to be taken when someone is bitten by an infected animal is to wash and cleanse the wound thoroughly with soap and water after which a tetanus toxoid injection is given. The vaccine is given after this.
On June 18, a woman had died of rabies in Idukki district. She was identified as Thottakkatt Omana, 65, a resident of Thekkinthandu. Officials from the health department said that Omana was bitten by a stray dog two months ago and did not inform her family or take the anti-rabies vaccine. She was admitted to Idukki Medical College. Hospital authorities administered the vaccine but she developed health issues again and was admitted to Kottayam Medical College. However, she passed away.
After a postmortem, a funeral was held at a public crematorium in Koompanpara near Adimali. Health department officials said that Omanaâ€™s husband Shankar and daughter Radha will be shifted for observation.