Abhirami, the 12-year-old girl who had been undergoing treatment at the Government Medical College in Kottayam after being attacked by a stray dog, died here on Monday. She had been confirmed of rabies infection during an examination of samples at the virology lab in Pune.
A native of Perunad in Ranni, Abhirami was bitten by the dog on August 13 while she was on her way to buy milk. She had suffered as many as seven injuries on her body in the attack and was administered anti-rabies vaccine at the Pathanamthitta General Hospital.
She was administered the next two doses of vaccine from the Perunad family health centre, while the fourth dose was due on September 10.
She was, however, shifted to the Government Medical College Hospital, Kottayam, after her condition worsened and since had been on ventilator support. To ascertain whether she had been infected with rabies, samples had been sent to the virology labs in Pune and Thiruvanathapuram.
Parents of the victim has alleged that she had not received adequate treatment from the Perunad hospital. “The hospital staff tried to convince us that the girl had been lying unconscious due to the effect of the vaccine. They also told us that there was no specific medicine available for the disease,” they told mediapersons.
The State health department had constituted a medical board to oversee the girl's treatment. The death has also aggravated concerns over the quality of anti-rabies vaccine supplied across the State.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Veena George said steps would be taken to ascertain whether the rabies virus had undergone a genetic mutation in the State.
“Genetic mutations that make vaccines less effective are rare in rabies. But among those who had been infected with rabies in the recent past, there are those who received the vaccine and serum. A complete genomic analysis of the virus samples collected from the State would be carried out at the National Institute of Virology, Pune, for this purpose,” the Minister said.