Nepal | July 03, 2020

KMC’s inaction blamed for rising dog-bite incidents

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, January 15

Dog bite cases are on the rise in the Capital, with data revealing that the number of such cases has doubled in the  past years, thanks to the inefficacy of Kathmandu Metropolitan City in managing stray dogs.

With dog-bite cases going up, the number of patients taking anti-rabies vaccine is also rising in the city. As per data provided by Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, a total of 3,092 people have took the anti-rabies vaccine in November-December last year. The number of people seeking anti rabies vaccine was 2,101 during the same period in 2016.

In July-August last year, a total of 2,940 people took the vaccine at the hospital whereas the number was 3,210 in August-September the same year. Similarly in September-October, as many as 3,190 people were vaccinated after being bitten by dog; while in October-November, the number stood at 3,076.

A total of 1,971, 1,662, 1,658, 1,695 and 2,101 people had taken anti-rabies vaccine in July-August, August-September, September-October, October-November and November-December respectively of the fiscal 2016-17.

The data also reveals that the number of males bitten by dogs was higher than females. “More males have been bitten by dogs as more males go out than females. Likewise, habits such as taking alcohol and staying outdoors till late night, which are more prevalent in men are some reasons for more cases of dog-bite among males. Also, violent behaviour, teasing and poking at dogs is more commonly seen among males,” said Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, co-coordinator at Clinical Research Unit of the Teku-based hospital.

According to Dr Pun, 16 people died at the hospital in fiscal 2016-2017 due to rabies.

According to Abinash Prasad Singh, zoonotic officer at Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, two people have already died of rabies this fiscal. “There might be more dog-bite casualties as many cases go unreported,” said Singh.

Similarly, an outbreak of rabies was seen in Illam in January 4, 2018, following which a medical team deployed from EDCD visited the affected area with anti-rabies vaccine and administered the vaccine to patients, according to Singh.

After being bitten by a dog, one should take anti-rabies vaccine as soon as possible so that the vaccine is more effective. Equine rabies immunoglobulin is administered to a person when bitten by a dog in the body area above the neck. The vaccine is given to those who have multiple injuries and those who have been bitten in the face and at the tip of the nails — areas where there are more nerves. The risk of rabies is high when one gets bitten in these areas. Therefore, the vaccine is meant to neutralise the virus, said Dr Pun.

The KMC however hasn’t taken any initiatives to control stray dogs in the Capital. “We have less amount of anti-rabies vaccines and we haven’t been effectively running anti-rabies vaccination and sterilisation campaigns,” said Hari Kumar Shrestha, chief of Public Health Division at KMC. The metropolis doesn’t even have a record of the number of street dogs in the Capital.

A version of this article appears in print on January 16, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

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