Kerala government issues guidelines on preventing rabies infection in school children

The guidelines were issued by the General Education Department headed by Minister V Sivankutty, a statement issued by his office said.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 07, 2024 | 7:00 PMUpdatedJun 07, 2024 | 7:00 PM

rabies

The Kerala government on Friday, 7 June, issued guidelines, which included preventing stray dogs from staying and breeding on school premises, to safeguard students from rabies infection.

The guidelines were issued by the General Education Department headed by Minister V Sivankutty, a statement issued by his office said.

Besides preventing the stay and breeding of stray dogs on school premises, the guidelines also state that students should be made aware of rabies and measures to prevent it, the statement said.

It also said that the guidelines also recommend that students be told to immediately inform their teachers or parents if they are scratched or bitten by any animal.

Additionally, it directed that a special assembly be held in the schools on 13 June in collaboration with the Health Department to create awareness about the safety measures against rabies infection, the statement said.

Sivankutty has directed all Deputy Directors of Education to ensure that the special assemblies are held in all schools, the statement added.

Also Read: Kerala panel suggests anti-rabies vaccines for kids

Kerala and rabies

Kerala has had a difficult time fighting rabies over the past few years. For example, a couple of rabies deaths in 2022 shed light on the presence of rabies among wildlife in the state.

Back then, rights activist Prof Kusumam Joseph said: “The infection among wild animals is a matter of grave concern.”

She added: “As human-animal conflicts are very high in Kerala and stray dogs often interfere with crop-raiding wild animals, urgent measures are needed.”

She also said: “Immediate intervention in the case of wild animals is required, along with the ongoing statewide anti-rabies vaccination drive for stray dogs.”

​According to public health activist Dr NM Arun, several wild animals were ​known as carriers of viruses, including the rabies lyssavirus, which causes rabies.

​He pointed out that regular encounters between wild and domestic animals ​were happening in most forest areas of Kerala, which could reduce the impact of vaccination campaigns ​in the state.

Last year, the Karnataka Health Department directed all government hospitals to provide anti-rabies vaccines (ARVs) and rabies immunoglobulin (RIG) free of cost as per requirement for all animal-bite victims.

A circular issued on 6 October by the state’s Health and Family Welfare Services commissioner said: “No animal-bite victim shall be denied treatment irrespective of their possession of APL/BPL card.”

It added: “Therefore, it is hereby directed to provide ARV and RIG free of cost as per requirement for all animal bite victims.”

It also said: “The medical officers are instructed to judiciously use the RIG as per the NRCP recommendations.”

The NRCP — the National Rabies Control Programme — has been set up with the mission statement “Elimination of dog-bite mediated rabies by 2030”.

(With PTI inputs)