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Rabies causes tens of thousands of deaths every year, mainly in Asia and Africa, 40% of whom are children under 15 years of age, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Representational image: iStock

Rabies deaths in Kerala not due to ineffective vaccines: Central team

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Rabies deaths in Kerala were not due to vaccines being ineffective, a central team which visited the state to probe the cases has said in its report to the Union health ministry, according to official sources.

Meanwhile, the testing at Kasauli is also complete and states that the vaccines are effective, the sources said. The report stated that majority of deaths were preventable and could be attributed to low awareness in the general community about dos and don’ts in the event of animal bites, the sources said.

Also Read: Kerala govt to open model anti-rabies clinics in hospitals

There has been delay in seeking time and appropriate animal bite management in the cases examined which might be attributed to not recognising the importance of timely and full rabies post exposure prophylaxis.

Intensive information education and communication activities are required for all target audiences about dos and don’ts for animal bites management, the committee has recommended, they said.

Also Read: Kerala CM assures to set up panel to examine anti-rabies vaccines

Deaths are also attributed to proper wound washing facility at animal bite management facilities even at tertiary care level and limited availability of ARV/ARS at peripheral health facility as only 30 per cent PHC and UHC were having ARV available and 3.5 per cent of all facilities were having ARS.

“None of the deaths could be attributed to vaccine/RIG quality, the report said,” an official source said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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