Bitten by stray dogs, Mumbai legislator struggles to find anti-rabies drug

Mahadev Jankar, a member of legislative council, says his workers scoured the entire city to find the drug, since the clinic he went to didn’t have it; he was bitten by stray dogs outside his Goregaon (East) residence on Thursday

A Legislator realised what the common man has to go through in times of emergencies, when he was bitten by stray dogs and his aides were unable to find anti-rabies drug in the city. It was only when a host of his workers spread out over the city that a primary dose was found but the leader now requires a more powerful drug, which has to be imported from the USA.

Jankar was bitten by stray dogs outside his Goregaon residence on Thursday night when he tried shooing them away. File pic
Jankar was bitten by stray dogs outside his Goregaon residence on Thursday night when he tried shooing them away. File pic

The incident occurred with Mahadev Jankar, a member of legislative council (MLC) and the national president of the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP), an ally of the BJP. At 10 pm on Thursday, Jankar was out for a post-dinner walk outside his residence in Nivara Hakka Samiti in Goregaon (East).

“I spotted an elderly man being attacked by 7-8 strays. I tried to shoo the dogs away. Instead of running away scared, some strays attacked me and bit me on my thighs,” Jankar told mid-day from Astha Hospital in Kandivli. He was discharged from the hospital late in the afternoon yesterday.

Jankar’s aide, Vaibhav Borade, said he rushed to the spot when he heard Jankar shouting from a distance. “We had dinner together. Before I could reach the spot (not far from the home), Jankar was bleeding profusely. His shorts were torn and soaked in blood,” he said.

Dogged pursuit
According to Jankar, his tribulations started when he was rushed to a nearby clinic. “Since the clinic didn’t have the anti-rabies drug available, my desperate workers travelled across the city in four separate vehicles to get it.

Somehow, they managed to get the medicine and I was given the first dose at 3.30 am,” said the MLC, who was shifted to the Kandivli hospital on Friday morning. Due to this incident, it dawned on Jankar that a common man could’ve been in worse trouble.

“One can imagine the plight of a common man in a similar situation. I could get the drug because I had help and resources at hand. What will the poor do in such cases?” said Jankar, who hails from rural parts of western Maharashtra.

He also demanded a permanent solution to the stray dog menace. This administered dose, however, is a primary one. The legislator said he was advised to get a high-power ‘Albumin Anti-Rabies 1400IN’ drug because of the nature of the injury.

This drug is not recommended for all and a senior drugs department official told Jankar that it is not available in India. “The drugs department officials have assured me that they will help me get the drug from America. I have been given one dose of anti-rabies and will need six more shots,” he said.

Official speak
State Health Minister Dr Deepak Sawant said that the anti-rabies drug was available at all BMC hospitals in the city. “I will have to check why Jankar couldn’t get it. I will also ensure that the drug is available at all government and civic hospitals across the state. We will also have to check whether Jankar’s workers went to BMC hospitals for the drug.”

Dr Sawant confirmed that ‘Albumin Anti-Rabies 1400IN’ is hard to find. “Since this drug is not often recommended, many pharmacies don’t stock it. So, it has to be brought in from the US,” he said. He also lamented the growing population of strays in the city, saying said he had brought a bill in the state legislature to check the menace, but some ethnic groups had brought political pressure to defeat his purpose.

Rabies symptoms
>> Irritability
>> Excessive movements 
>> Agitation
>> Confusion
>> Hallucinations
>> Aggressiveness
>> Bizarre thoughts
>> Muscle spasm

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