Lhakpa Quendren

GELEPHU — A 29-year-old RBA soldier has been admitted in the intensive care of the Central Regional Referral Hospital (CRRH), Gelephu after a rabid dog bit him on May 31 at the Tareythang army outpost.

As of the latest update from the hospital, the patient, now on a ventilator, has been fever-free for the past two days.

Dr Choeda Gyaltshen, the medical superintendent of CRRH, expressed concerns regarding the patient’s condition, stating that there has been no observable neurological improvement while the patient’s hemodynamic status remains unchanged.

The patient had a history of fever lasting five days prior to being admitted to the hospital on June 24. Shedding light on the incident, Dr Gyaltshen revealed that the patient had been bitten by an unidentified dog while attempting to save a cat, which tragically succumbed to its injuries.

The rabid dog also injured two cows on the same day. Both the cows are now dead.

Confirming the presence of rabies, Dr Gyaltshen said that a brain test employing a rapid test kit yielded positive results for the disease.

Prompted by the urgency to safeguard public health and prevent further transmission, health officials have administered rabies vaccinations to over 165 individuals residing in the Yoezergang Chiwog of the Tareythang Gewog.

Ugyen Dorji, health officer of Sarpang, emphasised that the priority is given to vaccinating residents in the Yoezergang Chewog, where the rabies outbreak originated.

“We have vaccinated almost the entire population, with some individuals now receiving their second and third doses,” Ugyen Dorji said.

He further said, “We currently have 3,467 rabies vaccines in stock, with the initial batch set to expire in August, while the majority will remain viable until September 2024.”

To mitigate spreading the disease, all dogs, cats, and other domestic animals in the affected area have been vaccinated.

Stringent precautions are being implemented, including the isolation of individuals who had primary contact with the rabid dog.

Officials from the Gelephu regional veterinary hospital, CRRH, and healthcare workers from Umling BHU and Chhuzagang Hospital are conducting door-to-door visits to raise awareness about rabies and identify any unreported bite cases in Tareythang and Umling gewogs.

The military intelligence (MI) officer of the Gelephu region could not be contacted for comments.