Pakistan reports another rabies death at Karachi hospital, Improper and inadequate treatment noted

By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

For the second time in a week, a human rabies death has been reported at the Indus Hospital in Karachi. Last week, a 6-year-old boy died from the lethal virus and this Tuesday, a 24-year-old man succumbed to rabies.

Image/CDC

A report from the Pakistani news source, Dawn,  states “the patients received improper and inadequate treatment at government hospitals”.

In the young child’s case, who received bites to the face, rabies immunoglobulin (RIG) was never administered, proper washing of the wounds and improper administration of the injections were noted in the report.

In the case of the young man, who had a wound to the forehead, again RIG wasn’t administered, the wound was stitched and a misdiagnosis of diarrhea was given.

Rabies: What should you do if you’re exposed?

Rabies is an acute viral infection that is transmitted to humans or other mammals usually through the saliva from a bite of an infected animal. It is also rarely contracted through breaks in the skin or contact with mucous membranes.

What type of symptoms will it cause in humans?

Initially, like in many diseases, the symptoms are non-specific; fever, headache and malaise. This may last several days. At the site of the bite there may be some pain and discomfort. Symptoms then progress to more severe: confusion, delirium, abnormal behavior and hallucinations. If it gets this far, the disease is nearly 100% fatal.

According to the Global Alliance for Rabies Control:

Immediately after any exposure to the virus, medical attention should be sought. It is critical to remember that the bite wound must be cleaned with soap and water for 15 minutes, and anti-rabies vaccine will be needed and, often, anti-rabies immunoglobulins too. Once the clinical onset of rabies is evident, there is no cure available and death is inevitable. It is therefore extremely important to get prompt medical treatment.

Full PEP consists of thorough washing of the wound, followed by immunoglobulin injections (antibodies against the rabies virus) into the wound and a series of rabies vaccinations that are administered after an exposure occurs, to prevent disease progression. If the bite victim has never been immunized for rabies, they should always receive the vaccination and the immunoglobulin treatment.  For victims who were vaccinated with a modern rabies vaccine prior to exposure, you will still need booster doses of vaccine. You will not need immunoglobulin injections.


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