On Monday, September 4, a 1४-year-old boy identified as Shahvej lost his life one and a half months after he was bitten by a dog. The boy didn’t inform about the dog bite at home and failed to take anti-rabies vaccine, as a result, the family was unaware of his deteriorating health. The incident has been reported from the Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh.
According to the initial report, the incident came to the fore only after the boy complained of ill health some four days ago. However, the infection happened to spread so fast that he could not breathe properly and suffered a painful death on Monday.
The father of the boy, Yakub is said to have consulted 4-5 doctors while struggling to save his son’s life. He also took his son to several hospitals in Delhi and Bulandshahr but to no avail. The boy died while the father and the child were on their way back to Gaziabad from Bulandshahr.
The video of the boy wailing in pain is making rounds on social media. The father of the child is also seen helplessly crying, seeing his son suffering in pain in his arms.
If you can’t vaccinate 🐕, then don’t domestic one. Yesterday evening a 14-yr-old Shavez, died in his father’s arm, as he did not inform his parents about dog bite, which he suffered more than a month ago due to negligence of his neighbour. #Ghaziabad #UttarPradesh pic.twitter.com/45wVyPw5nC
— Arvind Chauhan 💮🛡️ (@Arv_Ind_Chauhan) September 5, 2023
The victim and his family belong to the Tajpur region of Bulandshahr district but had been staying in Ghaziabad. The Ghaziabad Health Authorities revealed that they had obtained no information about the boy and his unfortunate death. Further investigations are underway.
As per a report in Live Hindustan, the child’s grandfather has informed that though the boy had not informed his family about the dog bite, he later started showing stage symptoms. He was afraid of water and sometimes used to make animal like sounds. When the family consulted doctors, they were informed that the disease has spread and there would be no cure.
Rabies is a preventable viral disease that is most commonly spread via a rabid animal’s bite. The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system of the victim, resulting in brain illness and death.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year, more than 55,000 individuals die as a result of a dog bite due to a lack of awareness about the importance of seeking medical attention after a dog bite. The majority of these deaths occur in Asia and Africa. India is a rabies-endemic country, accounting for 36% of global rabies deaths.
As per WHO’s data, rabies kills around 18,000 to 20,000 people each year in India. Further, minors under the age of 15 account for 30-60% of reported rabies cases and deaths in India, as bites in minors frequently go unrecognized and unreported.
Notably, a report by Times of India from July 2023 stated that around 307 persons died of rabies in India in the year 2022.
Dog bites generate around 96% of rabies cases and deaths in India. According to the Association for the Prevention and Control of Rabies in India (APCRI), India records several lakh dogbites each year.
In India, dogs are responsible for about 97% of human rabies, followed by cats (2%) and jackals and mongoose (1%).
In June this year, a ‘dog lover’ named Stephin V Pareira died of rabies in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram. She used to feed stray dogs and had neglected scratches made by one of the dogs in her hand while feeding the animal. Her rabies symptoms were diagnosed while she was taking care of her sick brother in the hospital. Despite treatment, she had succumbed on June 17.
Several incidents of violent attacks by dogs have occurred recently. In one such case, a 70-year-old retired doctor was bitten to death by a pack of dogs while out on a morning walk on the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) campus in April of this year. Last year, strays murdered a five-year-old girl in Agra, while dogs killed a 12-year-old boy in Bareilly in May.