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 an anti-rabies vaccine, Srilakshmi did not show any symptoms initially. She began showing symptoms later after which she was first taken to a private hospital in Mankara in Palakkad. She was later admitted at the Thrissur medical college with high fever two days ago. 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 owner’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.