Bit­ten woman dies de­spite ra­bies vac­cine

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By WANG XIAODONG wangx­i­aodong@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

The ra­bies vac­cines ad­min­is­tered to a 32-year-old woman in Xi’an, Shaanxi prov­ince, who died af­ter be­ing in­fected through a dog bite, were up to stan­dard, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal health au­thor­i­ties on Thurs­day.

Long Xi­ul­ing, who was bit­ten by a stray dog on her left an­kle on June 20, re­ceived med­i­cal treat­ment the same day, in­clud­ing the vac­cine and an­tibi­otics, at Xi’an Cen­tral Hospi­tal, a ma­jor hospi­tal in the city, the Xi’an Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion said.

The doc­tor in the hospi­tal’s emer­gency de­part­ment who treated Long also ad­vised her to get four more doses of vac­cine at in­ter­vals un­til July 18. Long re­ceived three vac­ci­na­tions at the hospi­tal, the com­mis­sion said.

She suf­fered symp­toms in­clud­ing numb­ness in her left leg, a sore back and fre­quent uri­na­tion and went to the hospi­tal on July 13 for treat­ment. She did not tell the doc­tors about the dog bite dur­ing that visit, and doc­tors did not di­ag­nose ra­bies, the com­mis­sion said.

Long went to Xi­jing Hospi­tal, also in Xi’an, on July 17, where she was di­ag­nosed with ra­bies. She was then trans­ferred to Xi’an Eighth Hospi­tal for treat­ment, where she died af­ter at­tempts to save her life failed, the com­mis­sion said.

The vac­cines Long re­ceived at Xi’an Cen­tral were pro­duced by a cer­ti­fied com­pany and were prop­erly stored and trans­ported, which en­sures their qual­ity, the com­mis­sion said, not­ing that they were pur­chased by the pro­vin­cial dis­ease preven­tion and con­trol cen­ter.

Long went to Xi’an Cen­tral at 6:10 pm on June 20 for treat­ment, about an hour af­ter she was bit­ten. Her left an­kle had mul­ti­ple bite marks, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased by the hospi­tal. The doc­tor gave her treat­ment for ra­bies fol­low­ing pro­ce­dures listed by the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, in­clud­ing im­me­di­ately giv­ing a vac­ci­na­tion, the hospi­tal said.

Cao Hual­ing, an emer­gency doc­tor at the hospi­tal, said there might be sev­eral rea­sons for the in­ef­fec­tive­ness of the vac­cine in Long’s case.

“The level of virus in the stray dog may have been very high and may have in­fected Long’s neu­ro­log­i­cal sys­tem be­fore she re­ceived the first dose of vac­cine,” he said. “Pa­tients with low im­mune ca­pac­ity may not be able to re­sist ra­bies.” In such a case, the vac­cine may not work, he said.

The chance of a pa­tient de­vel­op­ing ra­bies symp­toms af­ter proper vac­ci­na­tion is only 1 per­cent, but once a pa­tient gets sick the dis­ease can al­ways lead to death, he added.

Stan­dard treat­ment in China for dog bites is five doses of vac­cine within 28 days. Ra­bies is in­cur­able and can only be pre­vented by the vac­cine, ac­cord­ing to health au­thor­i­ties.

In the first eight months of last year, two peo­ple in Bei­jing de­vel­oped ra­bies and both died. About 100,000 peo­ple re­ceived ra­bies vac­ci­na­tions af­ter be­ing in­jured by an­i­mals, ac­cord­ing to the Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mis­sion of Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning.

ZHENG TAO / FOR CHINA DAILY

More than 2,000 un­der­grad­u­ates who plan to take the na­tional post­grad­u­ate en­trance exam at­tend a course to help them pre­pare in Ji­nan, Shan­dong prov­ince, on Thurs­day. Given the com­pe­ti­tion in the job mar­ket, more un­der­grad­u­ates have cho­sen to take the exam in re­cent years. It is sched­uled for late De­cem­ber.

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