KOCHI: Rabies vaccination, which suffered a setback due to the pandemic, will now be resumed to make the district rabies-free, say experts. Efforts are also on to make the public aware of the importance of pre and post-exposure rabies vaccination.
The Ernakulam district medical office, in association with the department of animal husbandry, has launched a campaign involving Student Police Cadets (SPC) and nursing students to create awareness, said district animal husbandry officer Dr Baby Joseph.
“All the government medical institutions have routine vaccines available at a fee of `15. Rabies vaccine should be taken two to three months after birth and then continued every year. During lockdown, this was affected for two weeks,” he said.
The most important challenge before the healthcare workers concerning rabies is the lack of awareness among the public, even those who are educated. Most people believe that rabies vaccination is to be taken only after getting exposed to a bite or scratch by an animal, which is wrong.
When to take a rabies vaccine
Dr Vinod Poulose, surveillance officer (non-Covid pandemics) said rabies is not curable and is a very dangerous condition. He added that the only way to prevent this is to get vaccinated. “Pre-exposure vaccines are for those who handle animals and pets. The post-exposure vaccines are for those who were bitten or scratched or had contact with animal fluids. Whenever an exposure happens, irrespective of the severity, the person should contact a nearby physician,” he said.
SPC cadets and nursing students
SPC cadets from the district are being trained to spread awareness about the vaccination. A webinar was conducted for 100 SPCs on Tuesday in connection with the campaign. Three cadets were selected as winners in the quiz contest held as part of the programme. A poster competition was also held for nursing students in the district on the same theme. The selected posters were displayed at the collectorate on Wednesday. Poster will be on display at healthcare institutions.
More pets during pandemic
According to statistics, children are more exposed to animals (40%), especially cats. Cats are also high-risk animals, whose saliva and scratches can be dangerous, if not cared for. So parents need to be especially attentive to wounds or scratches on children caused by exposure to pets or strays.
First aid for rabies
Wash the injury in running water with soap as early as possible. Never cover the wound