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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 10 August 2022 1.20 AM IST

Tragic deaths that could have been prevented

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It is generally believed that a person, who had received an anti-rabies vaccine, has nothing to worry even if he gets bitten by a rabies-infected dog. However, the death of Palakkad Mankara native Sreelekshmi has destroyed that belief. Sreelekshmi, a college student, had taken the vaccine four times as prescribed by the doctor. Sreelekshmi, who was bitten by a pet dog of a neighbour on May 30, showed symptoms of rabies on June 28 when she returned home after taking the exam. She was immediately taken to the hospital. It is a well-documented fact that after poisoning, treatment is ineffective. The girl passed away on June 30. Needless to say, how horrible and painful Sreelekshmi's final two days were when she had to stay in the hospital cell.

After Sreelekshmi's death, controversy has arisen about the effectiveness of the vaccine and the flaws in its administration. The owner who was bitten by the same dog and others in the household had received the vaccine. Authorities said that there is nothing wrong with them. Meanwhile, the district medical officer came forward with the argument that the poison may have affected Sreelekshmi's brain quickly as her wound was deep. It is good that the health department has taken action to investigate where things went wrong. An expert panel investigation is needed to give confidence to those who are ready to get vaccinated against rabies.

In Palakkad alone, at least 200 people seek treatment at hospitals a day after being bitten by dogs. There is a court ruling that local bodies should pay compensation in case of stray dog ​​bites. Many have received higher compensation. However, common people who do not have legal knowledge do not avail this help. Households will be ready to vaccinate their pets. There will also be people who tend to ignore such responsibilities. It is learned that the dog that bit Sreelekshmi was not vaccinated. The serious lapse has resulted in the death of a poor young girl.

It is estimated that 14 people have died due to rabies in the state in the last six months. Most of them were bitten by stray dogs. Toddlers to the elderly are facing risk from stray dogs. Members of poor families can be seen struggling without having enough money to travel to the hospital and seek treatment if they get bitten by dogs. Storage and availability of anti-rabies vaccines cannot be said to be perfect. However, the reports from the districts are that there are many limitations. Continuous power outages may reduce the effectiveness of vaccines. Hospitals should have an alternative system for technical errors like this. Local authorities should come out with a determination to prevent the proliferation of stray dogs. Food wastes from homes and eateries often end up in public spaces. This has led to the proliferation and increased aggressiveness of stray dogs. Things like this come to the attention of the people and the government when there are incidents that hurt and injure society. Sreelekshmi's untimely death has once again called the authorities' attention to preventive measures against the stray dog menace.

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