As Ludhiana’s govt hospitals focus on Covid-19, dog bite patients run from pillar to post

Around 382 dog bite cases were reported in Ludhiana civil hospital in July, while 937 cases were reported in the district
70-year-old vendor Joginder Singh of Hargobing Nagar was bitten by a stray dog on August 5. He says he was denied treatment at the civil hospital as the hospital was out of rabies vaccine.(HT Photo)
70-year-old vendor Joginder Singh of Hargobing Nagar was bitten by a stray dog on August 5. He says he was denied treatment at the civil hospital as the hospital was out of rabies vaccine.(HT Photo)
Updated on Aug 19, 2020 11:39 PM IST
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Hindustan Times/Ludhiana | ByMohit Khanna, Ludhiana

With the health department focusing on containment and treatment of surging Covid-19 cases, dog-bite patients are being forced to turn to private clinics due to the unavailability of rabies vaccine.

As many as 8,951 dog-bite cases were reported in the district till July. Around 382 dog bite cases were reported in Ludhiana civil hospital in July, while 937 cases were reported in the district. Rabies vaccination cell matron Rita Methews says, “No of record for August could be maintained as the vaccine was not available.”

70-year-old vendor Joginder Singh of Hargobing Nagar was bitten by a stray dog on August 5. He says he was denied treatment at the civil hospital as the hospital was out of rabies vaccine. “First, I was told to visit the hospital on August 8 and later on August 12, I kept standing in the queue for nearly four hours only to be told the vaccine was not available. Finally, I purchased the remaining vaccines from the market and continued treatment,” he said.

Dog bite cases reported in Ludhiana

January: 1,413

February: 1,787

March: 1,565

April: 1,024

May: 1,091

June: 1,134

July: 937

Total: 8,951

Joginder is not alone, many patients are turning up at private clinics to get their vaccination done. Civil surgeon Dr Rajesh Bagga said he has asked officials concerned to look into the matter.

However, Punjab Health System Corporation (PHSC) managing director Tanu Kashyap says, “We ordered 60,000 vaccines last week. Around 18,500 vaccines are available at three warehouses of the state. The remaining stock is due to arrive next week.”

State Rabies Control Programme, programme officer, Dr Preeti Thaware, says as many as 1,34,827 dog-bite cases were reported last year while 65,000 dog bite cases were reported till June this year.

In 2016, 1.10 lakh cases were reported, 1.12 lakh in 2017 and 1.13 lakh in 2018. Besides coronavirus cases, the industrial town has attained top slot in dog bite cases as well. As many as 15,000 dog bite cases were reported last year in Ludhiana, followed by Patiala and Jalandhar with around 10,000 cases and then Hoshiarpur with around 9,000 cases.

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