Kathmandu, September 1

Dog bite patients have been facing problem due to shortage of Rabies Immune Globulin vaccine at Sukraraj Tropical Infectious Disease Hospital, Teku, for the last two weeks.

Narayan Khatiwada, 30, of Bhaktapur, who was bitten by a jackal, was admitted to STIDH yesterday, but he had not been administered RIG vaccine yet.

According to Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, coordinator of clinical research unit at the hospital, the hospital has run out of RIG vaccines. “There are two kinds of RIG vaccines — one equine rabies immunoglobulin and another human rabies immunoglobulin. ERIG vaccine is economical and affordable for patients as compared to HRIG. But we are facing shortage of both kinds of vaccines,” he informed

“Once symptoms appear, the result is nearly always death. The time period between contracting the disease and the start of symptoms is usually one to three months, but can vary from less than one week to more than one year. Rabies cannot be treated, hence the person bitten by a rabid dog should be vaccinated as early as possible,” he added.

“Since HRIG vaccines are very expensive, the hospital hasn’t bought the vaccines. ERIG vaccines cheaper so the hospital provides these vaccines free of cost,” said Dr Pun.

SaradaBista, mother of 30-year-old jackal bite patient, from Gundu told The Himalayan Times that doctors had confirmed death of his son within four days. “He has developed aerophobia and hydrophobia after two months of jackal bite,” she informed.

“Of the animal bite patients admitted to the hospital, 90 per cent are dog-bite patients,” said Rup Narayan Khatiwada, chief administrator at STIDH. STIDH is the only centre that provides free RIG vaccines.