Missing youth bitten by rabid dog located two days later

Missing youth bitten by rabid dog located two days later
A rabid dog. Representational image
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Kottayam: Several people who were bitten a stray dog in Alappuzha are seeking anti-rabies treatment after it was found to be rabid. Meanwhile, authorities frantically searched for an unidentified youth who was let off after administering tetanus injection at the General Hospital in Alappuzha. He was finally traced to Kollad near Kottayam town on Friday, two days after the dog bite, after a report in Malayala Manorama highlighted the risk the unknown person and others faced.

P A Sreekuttan, 25, and  37 others were bitten by a stray dog on Wednesday. It was later beaten to death by the local people. Later postmortem revealed that the dog had rabies.

All except Sreekuttan were soon alerted and administered the anti-rabies shot as soon as it was confirmed the dog was infected with the dangerous rabies virus. However, the authorities could not find the name or other contact details of the 38th person, Sreekuttan. As a delay in getting medical aid would prove to be dangerous for the bitten person as well as others in contact, medical officials both in Kottayam and Alappuzha began to make enquiries.

After a report on the missing person appeared in Manorama on Friday, Sreekuttan was located by Panachikkad panchayat member Annie Mammen and social worker Sibi Kollad.

He told them that he was let off after merely giving a tetanus injection at the Alappuzha General Hospital and the staff did not even take down his name or other details.

(Ideally, a tetanus shot should be taken within 24 hours of the dog bite incident. However, anti-rabies course is necessary if the dog is rabid, i.e., infected with rabies virus.)

Sreekuttan also alleged that the General Hospital staff did not even refer him to the Medical College Hospital (MCH), considering the gravity of the situation. He later sought medical aid at the Kottayam MCH.

Sreekuttan had complained of uneasiness and anxiety once he reached his home at Kollad soon after the incident on Wednesday. His mother K N Valsala urged him to get the anti-rabies vaccination from the hospital. By evening, he was then taken to the Kottayam MCH, where he was administered immunoglobulin injection and the first dose of anti-rabies vaccination.

District medical officer Dr Jacob Varghese and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy appreciated Sreekuttan for seeking timely medical aid.

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