Agreement on poor handling of cases of human rabies

Photo: Wikipedia

Dr. Clemente Terrero, the deputy director of the Robert Reid Cabral Children’s Hospital, told the Diario Libre that a five-year old boy who had been hospitalized with the clinical symptoms of human rabies had not been administered the anti-rabies vaccine within the timeframe established in the protocols for these cases. This was in the Elio Fiallo Hospital in Pedernales. This apparent neglect is more bewildering given two recent fatalities from this disease in recent weeks being reported in that region.

Terrero said in a telephone interview that “in this case the child was not vaccinated when he was taken to the hospital, but ten days later they began the vaccination process, but by then it was too late.” Dr. Terrero said: “We have a serious situation in the country. An outbreak of canine rabies and now we can say that we have human rabies, because there have been three cases in Pedernales. There have been four deaths attributed to the disease this year, which if it shows clinical symptoms is nearly impossible to cure. The doctors said that the chances of curing it are minimal.

Public Health Minister Rafael Sanchez Cardenas confirmed to reporters that the failure to follow protocols at the Elio Fiallo Hospital in Pedernales was a major factor in the two fatalities registered, so far, and he called upon the National Health Service (SNS) to investigate and apply sanctions against those that acted with negligence in these cases. The minister also expressed regret that the child who is currently being treated at the Robert Reid Cabral Hospital has to be officially diagnosed at the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia, because the local rabies center is undergoing a major remodeling.

Dr. Sanchez Cardenas said that there is a team of specialists in Pedernales going house to house to investigate if other persons have been bitten by dogs of other animals. The Ministry is also using social media to inform the public regarding of the dangers and symptoms of human and canine rabies. The Ministry has an on-going campaign to vaccinate all the dogs and cats in the city of Pedernales as well as in the countryside.

Dr. Chanel Rosa Chupany, director of the SNS, said that persons bitten by an animal need to take several doses of anti-rabies vaccine in the first 28 days, undergo lab tests and the animal needs to be taken under surveillance. He urged that all cases be immediately reported to the Direcciones Provinciales de Salud (DPS), the regional health agencies.

He explained that the anti-rabies center was closed following a recommendation from the Panamerican Health Organization that said that vaccines should be available at all health centers and not in a single specialized center.

The former president of the Dominican Medical Guild (CMD) observed that while the Centro Antirrabico operated with limitations tests to determine rabies were made there. Now the samples have to be sent to the Atlanta-based CDC labs in the United States. He said this increases the vulnerability to the mortal illness. Rabies cannot be treated in humans, only in the dogs.

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26 December 2018