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Indian boy 14th rabies survivor in world

Gautam Dheer, Sep 13, 2014, DHNS: Chandigarh, dhns: 2:21 IST
In a rare success, doctors from National Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences (Nimhans), Bangalore, and the Army Command Hospital in Chandimandir Cantonment near here have successfully treated a 16-year-old boy suffering from rabies.   DH file photo

In a rare success, doctors from National Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences (Nimhans), Bangalore, and the Army Command Hospital in Chandimandir Cantonment near here have successfully treated a 16-year-old boy suffering from rabies.

The feat is rare since there have been only 14, including the boy, reported cases of rabies survivors in the world till date, Colonel F M H Ahmed, neurologist at Command Hospital, told Deccan Herald on Saturday.

The boy, Hira Singh, was admitted to Military Hospital in May this year in a critical comatose state. He was bitten by a stray dog and was given four doses of anti-rabies vaccine. Eventually, he slipped into a coma, needed ventilator and airway support when brought to hospital with a diagnosis of rabies.

The patient was valuated exhaustively, treated energetically, including a surgery for tracheostomy and gastrostomy, the doctors said on Saturday. The boy has since been breathing without any equipment support and has improved.

“He is “awake and in a partially paralysed state,” he said. Doctors from Nimhans along with experts of Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, used cutting edge molecular techniques to assist doctors at Military Hospital here.

Leading the Nimhans Bangalore team, Prof Madhusudana, who is also the WHO expert on rabies and co-author of the first Indian report on a rabies survivor, found diagnostically high titers of neutralising antibodies in the patient samples corroborating the diagnosis of rabies.

Dr Vivek Lal, Professor and Head of Neurology at Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, evaluated and applauded the clinical management of the patient.

At a talk on the subject organised here on Saturday, Dr Lal said: “The neurological disease had abated and the patient is indeed a rabies survivor. I never imagined that I would ever get to see a rabies survivor in my lifetime.” Colonel Ahmad said two more cases of rabies survivors have come to light — one in April this year at Medical College in Goa and the other from Bangalore. This takes the total number of rabies survivors worldwide to 14.

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