Casual approach towards anti-rabies treatment cost a 72-year-old man his life, five years after he was bitten by a stray dog.
Kisan Dattatray More of Ghulewadi, Sangamner in Ahmednagar district was bitten by a dog on his left hand around five years ago. However, he did not seek post dog bite vaccination to deactivate the virus then.
A few days back, he developed classical symptoms of rabies, including fear of water and air, following which he was admitted to civic-run Naidu Infectious Diseases hospital here.
"More gave a definite history of dog bite on his left hand five years ago and no other contact with any known rabid canine subsequently. He could not provide history of vaccination or medical attention at that time. During the clinical examination, he was anxious and scared at the sight of water, flow of air under a fan and had photophobia," said a doctor from Naidu hospital. He died of the infection in the last week of April, he added.
As per the medical history produced by the victim's relatives, he had not taken the anti-rabies vaccination on the scheduled days. Also, he was not administered rabies immunoglobulin, a readymade antibody which is extremely effective in deactivating the virus in category III dog-bite injury.
Experts said the unusually long incubation period of rabies virus is a known fact. However, awareness about it is very low. "The importance of proper wound care and post-exposure vaccination must be reinforced to prevent rabies," they said, while highlighting the need for health education programmes for the medical community and public for the same.
Neurologist Rajas Deshpande of Ruby Hall Clinic, who had examined the patient, said, "During my post-graduation, I HAD COME ACROSS A PATIENT WHO DEVELOPED RABIES INFECTION EIGHT YEARS AFTER HE RECEIVED A DOG BITE. THE UNUSUALLY LONG INCUBATION PERIOD OF RABIES, TIL 20 YEARS, IS DOCUMENTED IN MEDICAL LITERATURE, ALTHIOUGH IT IS VERY RARE.