From the last two nights, Birender Gupta, one of the victims who were bitten by a rabid dog in Sector 15 on Saturday, has not slept. “I don’t have a home; so I sleep on a pavement in Sector 15. The dog attacked me and left my toe badly injured ,” said Gupta, a 45-year-old rickshaw puller, who is among the many gripped in panic due to being bitten by the rabid dog.
“I have not been able to sleep since that night. I am afraid of being attacked by a dog again. I have changed my sleeping place from the pavement to a nearby park, but it did not help,” Gupta said.
Another victim of the dog bite, Kanaiya Thakur, a 42-year-old caretaker of public toilets in Sector 15, said, “What is hurting me more is that I had to spend my savings on medication. I have spent more than Rs 300 on the treatment so far,” he said.
Sukhdev Kumar, a dog-lover who used to regularly feed stray dogs until he was brutally bitten by one of them on Saturday, said, “After I got to know that the dog was rabid, I have not been able to sleep properly. I am quite anxious and I believe it will remain like this for a few days.”
He added, “I used to feed dogs on a daily basis. I had even fed the dog that bit me. It was a very scary moment. I was sitting in a market and he passed by me. I stood still, thinking that he will go but he turned and attacked me. It was a horrifying experience.”
He said he ended up paying ₹30,000 for the treatment. “In government hospitals, rabies immune globulin (human) serum is not available, so I preferred to spend more money and got the treatment done from a private doctor,” he said.
Anguish among people is quite visible in Sector-15 market, where a rabid dog had bitten at least 8 people.
“Why it makes headlines only when a dog attacks seven-eight people and the furore often dies down within a few days? Why don’t you question the authorities who are sitting idle and doing nothing to check the stray dog menace? They are not even paying the expenses of the treatment,” said an angry chemist shop owner.
Dr MS Kamboj, superintendent, slaughter wing, municipal corporation, said, “All people have been vaccinated and our teams are visiting them on a regular basis to ensure that they are taking their treatment properly.”
“Apart from this, the department is vaccinating stray dogs of Sector 15. On Sunday, 35 dogs were vaccinated and we will catch more dogs and vaccinate them. The purpose is to ensure that they don’t get infected with rabies,” he said.
No syringes in anti-rabies clinic
Those going for anti-rabies vaccination at the civil dispensary, Sector 19, are left harassed as they first have to go to the market to buy syringes.
From the last few months, the dispensary does not have any stock of syringes. On Tuesday, an elderly person, who was bitten by a rabid dog in Sector 15, had visited the dispensary for anti-rabies vaccine. He was left fuming as he was told to buy syringes first.
“From December onwards, we have started giving intra-dermal vaccination (injection given inside the skin), for which we need insulin syringes. These are not available with us, though we have written several times to the health department,” said one of the staff members of the dispensary on the basis of anonymity.
Intra-dermal vaccination is more economical and only four doses are required.
“In ₹20, one can get three-four syringes. These are not very costly,” he said.