KOLLAM: A 17-year-old tribal girl who showed aversion to food and water after her ordeal with a black magician to cure her illness died on September 13. Now, the autopsy report that has come to light three weeks after the death reveals that the girl, Archa, had a rabies infection supposedly following a dog bite a year ago.
The incident happened in a tribal colony at Piravanthoor near Pathanapuram here. The girl showed uneasiness and disorientation and aversion to food and water after which she was taken to Punalur taluk hospital on September 6. However, she was referred to Government Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, on suspicion that she had symptoms of rabies.
Ignoring medical advice, the parents chose to take her to a black magician suspecting her to be possessed by an evil spirit. Her condition worsened a week later and she was taken to Adoor taluk hospital but was declared brought dead on September 13. After the autopsy report came out, health authorities under District Medical Officer R Sreelatha held a rabies medical and awareness camp in the tribal colony in Pirvanthoor panchayat on Sunday.
“According to her sister’s statement, the girl was bitten by a puppy a year ago and it died the next day. Even though the incubation period for rabies is three to eight weeks, in some cases, it may extend up to one year. We are not sure whether she had got the infection from that dog but as part of the camp, her family members and relatives were given anti-rabies vaccination,” said Deputy DMO Dr R Sandhya.
“Through this campaign, we aim to spread awareness among the people that even if a pet dog licks a wound, they need to get intra-dermal rabies vaccine. Daily, we get 30 animal bite cases in the district, including cat bites, and they come and take the vaccination as a precaution. Precaution should be taken before the infection spreads to the brain. Once it reaches the brain, the symptoms start appearing. More awareness should be spread among the people regarding the seriousness of the infection,” said the deputy DMO.