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Siraha, Nepal: Man dies of rabies...then some odd things happen

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  • Siraha, Nepal: Man dies of rabies...then some odd things happen

    Needless to say, this is not a valid way to diagnose rabies, and could actually expose more people to the virus.

    Published Date: 2012-12-10 16:34:34
    Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Rabies - Nepal (02): (SR) human fatality
    Archive Number: 20121210.1445414

    A ProMED-mail post
    ProMED-mail is a program of the
    International Society for Infectious Diseases

    Date: Sun 9 Dec 2012
    Source: The Himalayan [edited]

    People seeking rabies treatment are turning to traditional healers rather than getting medical help at Gothtole, a Muslim community in Lahan Municipality.

    Following the outbreak [?], health workers have not been seen in the village out of fear of getting infected, locals said. "We have been forced to see the local shaman after there were no signs of health workers in the village despite our frequent requests," they said [Shamanism is a practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to encounter and interact with the spirit world. A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing. See: - Mod.CP].

    Tension ran high in the Muslim community after an 18-year-old died of rabies on Wed 5 Dec 2012. According to locals, the shaman uses a dinner plate as a means of treatment. He recites his mantras (spells) after placing the plate on the back of the dog-bitten person. "If the plate gets stuck on the back, it is confirmed that the person is infected, otherwise not," locals said, adding that Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday were considered the appropriate days for treatment.

    As many as 20 people had the plate stuck on their backs on Saturday [8 Dec 2012] and 32 people on Sunday [9 Dec 2012], said a local resident. According to him, locals are afraid that they might have been infected and were unaware of the infection, as they always **** out with victim. More than 50 people could be infected with rabies, said another local, adding that they had yet to receive any vaccines or health workers from the District Health Office.

    The DHO [District Health Office] is 40-km away from the village. Locals demanded that they be provided with the vaccines through the Lahan hospital. Previously[?], as many as 16 youths had received shots from Lahan Hospital.

    Communicated by:
    ProMED-mail <>

    [Siraha town is the headquarters of Siraha District, a part of the Sagarmatha Zone, Nepal. The town is located at an altitude of 64 metres on the border with India at Jayanagar, Bihar with a customs checkpoint. Siraha had a population of 572 399 according to a census in 2001. Its location is shown on the map at:

    It is not clear from this report how and when the victim was exposed (presumably by dog bite), or the lapse of time between rabies virus exposure and resort to treatment. It is also unclear why so many people sought treatment over a period of 3 days. The report seems to indicate that those seeking treatment believed that they might have contracted rabies as a result of contact with the victim, a belief that also may have been responsible for the flight of health care workers. Clarification would be welcomed. - Mod.CP