KASARAGOD: In a rare instance, the rabies vaccine failed leading to the death of a seven-year-old boy from Kayyur-Cheemeni panchayat. MK Anandh, a class II student of Government-Aided Upper Primary School at Alanthatta near Kayyur, died on Thursday, 23 days after he was bitten by a stray dog. He is survived by his father Thomas NV, a fishseller, mother Bindu MK, and brother Ananthu M K, 8.
According to his school teacher, Anandh was bitten by the dog on September 13. “He was playing near his house when the dog pounced on him. It bit Anandh under his right eye causing serious injury,” said the teacher. Anandh was taken to the District Hospital and the doctors administered the first dose of rabies immunoglobulin, which are antibodies that can fight the virus. Since the injury was close to the eye, he was admitted and an eye specialist had a look at him before he was discharged the next day.
Munda ward member Abdul Salam TP said he heard that residents thrashed the dog to death when it was spotted again. However, no other dog bites were reported from the area. After the first dose on September 13, Anandh was administered additional doses on the third day and the seventh day.
“His fourth and final dose of vaccine was slated for October 11 (28th day),” said his school teacher. “We really thought he would recover considering so many days had passed,” said ward member Salam.
But Anandh started feeling fever on Sunday (20th day). His parents took him to the District Hospital on Monday. On Tuesday, he was referred to Kozhikode Medical College. The doctors there suspected he was infected by the rabies virus and shifted him to an isolation ward. His blood test found he was infected by the virus. By then Anandh developed breathlessness, said the teacher. “He died in the early hours of Thursday,” he said.
District medical officer Mohanan E said it was a rare case of the rabies vaccine not working. “I have not come across such a case in my career,” he said. He said a team of experts would be consulted to find the cause of the vaccine failure. A doctor said properly cleaning the dog’s saliva from the wound was important.