21 rabies deaths, nearly 2 lakh dog bites this year in Kerala: Report

Stray dog. Representational image.

New Delhi: As many as 21 rabies deaths and 1.96 lakh dog bite cases have been reported in Kerala so far this year, states Justice S Siri Jagan Committee report on the grave public issue. The committee has submitted the report to the Supreme Court.

Most rabies deaths in the past decade were reported in the Thiruvananthapuram district, 21. The southern district was followed by Thrissur (14), Kozhikode (12) and Pathanamthitta (10).

Three children were among the dead.

While only 12 fatal rabies cases were confirmed through laboratory tests, the rest were diagnosed through other means, including typical clinical features and epidemiological linkages.

Six of the deceased had received anti-rabies serum (immunoglobulin) and anti-rabies vaccines. The rest either ignored the bite wound or did not report animal bite exposure, the report mentions.

The report also noted the rise in cases of stray dog bites. While the reported dog bite cases in government hospitals were 1.35 lakh in 2017, it has risen to 2.21 lakh in 2021.

There has been a rise in the number of dog bite cases reported over the past five years. Thiruvananthapuram has recorded the highest number of dog bite cases in the State with 27,343, followed by Palakkad (22,782), Kollam (21,692) and Thrissur (20,664). The least number of cases are in Idukki (5494) and Wayanad (6351).

Spurt in stray dog population

As per the livestock census in 2019, there are 2.89 lakh stray dogs in Kerala. Kollam has the highest population of stray dogs with 50,869 and Thiruvananthapuram is the second highest with 47,829. The least number of stray dogs is in Wayanad – 6,907.

The Supreme Court will consider the issue on September 28.

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