Stray dog menace in Kerala claims 7 lives in 4 months

Stray Dogs
Stray dogs. Photo: Manorama News

Thiruvananthapuram: The stray dog menace has worsened in Kerala leading to seven deaths in four months from May 2022. The deceased include those between the ages of 12 and 65.

Before 12-year-old Abhirami, Mohammad Razan (12) from Malappuram's Chelembra, Omana (65) from Murikkasseri in Idukki, Sreelakshmi (19) from Palakkad, Kamalakshi (59) from Palakkad's Kumaranalloor and Perambra native Chandrika (53) died of rabies infection. Thrissur native Thaivalappil Sheela (52) died of a heart attack on the fourth day after a dog bite.

Of the seven deceased, all except Omana had taken the rabies vaccinations. Omana informed the hospital about the dog bite weeks after the incident as she developed an inflammation on her leg. Though she was given a vaccine then and sent home, she died later on.

BLO resigns following dog bite

Meanwhile, a Booth Level Officer (BLO) resigned from his position in Kasaragod after getting bitten by a dog stating that it was a threat to his life. T K Rashid, a school teacher with Kanhangad South Vocational Higher Secondary School and the BLO of booth no 24, was bitten by a dog when he visited a house for linking the voter's identity card and Aadhaar card, on September 2. At present, Rashid is undergoing treatment.

Dogs infected by rabies doubles in 5 years

The number of dogs infected with the deadly rabies virus has almost doubled in the last five years, test reports of the Kerala Animal Husbandry department have revealed.

Out of the 300 samples collected from pet dogs and dead ones, as many as 168 cases turned positive for the disease. The cases of the virus in other animals, including cats, also doubled during the period. A chief reason for the substantial rise in rabies cases is the stoppage of vaccinations, which were used to be provided with sterilization activities.

The shocking fact came to light when an inquiry was made into the reasons for the death of 20 persons due to rabies.

The number of rabies cases in animals in the state is rising. The examination at the State Institute for Animal Disease found the presence of the rabies virus in 168 out of the total 300 samples collected. This is against the 48 samples testing positive for the virus out of the total 150 collected in 2016.

The immunity against canine rabies could be possible only if the dogs are vaccinated and the booster doses given at regular intervals. The negligence in timely rabies vaccination has resulted in the spread of diseases among pet animals.

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