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UP: Pet cat bites Imtiazuddin and his son Azim in Kanpur; both die of rabies within a week

In a tragic incident that has instilled fear in the Kanpur Dehat region, a father and son lost their lives to a cat bite in Kanpur Dehat. Imtiazuddin, a resident, had warmly raised a cat in his home, with the entire family showering it with affection. Unfortunately, the family’s world turned upside down when the pet cat fell victim to a stray dog bite, unknowingly contracting rabies.

Ignorant of the rabies symptoms, Imtiazuddin and his son Azim were bitten by the ailing cat. Within a week, the devastating consequences of rabies claimed both of their lives.

The family had no clue that their cat, which they played with and fed, would lead to a tragic outcome. While having fun, the cat occasionally scratched and bit its owners. Imtiazuddin’s son Azim worked in Noida. He came to the home on a short leave. during this time, this pet cat bit him.

Azim’s health worsened, and a medical examination revealed rabies symptoms. Despite treatment, 24-year-old Azim passed away, leaving the family in grief.

Just a week after Azim’s tragic death, his father Imtiazuddin began showing signs of rabies. The local community and family members were gripped with panic witnessing Imtiazuddin’s distressing condition.

Upon seeking medical attention, it was confirmed that he, too, was suffering from rabies. Despite undergoing treatment, Imtiazuddin passed away merely seven days after the loss of his son.

The neighbourhood is now in a state of panic as fear of stray dogs and cats grips the community. Families that once kept pets are hastily arranging to relocate their animals. This is particularly seen in those households with dogs or cats. The two deaths in a family within a week due to rabies have left the area in shock.

What is rabies

Rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The RABV virus infection is the root of the ailment. The virus infects the central nervous system of mammals which ultimately results in brain disease and death. It causes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) in humans and other mammals.

Rabies was historically referred to as hydrophobia (fear of water) due to the symptom of panic when presented with liquids to drink. It is spread from the saliva of infected animals. The majority of rabies in the United States are linked to skunks, raccoons, bats and foxes. However, dogs continue to carry the rabies virus in many other nations, including India, and dog bites are the leading cause of rabies-related deaths in humans worldwide.

The animals most likely to spread the rabies virus to people include pets and farm animals like cats, cows, dogs, ferrets, goats, horses and wild animals like bats, beavers, coyotes, foxes, monkeys, raccoons, skunks and woodchucks.

The epidemic of rabies in India

The number of human deaths globally due to dog-mediated rabies is estimated to be 59,000 annually. India is responsible for 36% of rabies-related deaths worldwide, according to the statistics of the World Health Organisation. The National Rabies Control Programme recorded 6644 medically suspected cases and fatalities of rabies between 2012 and 2022. Recent cases of rabies death which got wider media attention were from Meerut, Chennai, and Ghaziabad.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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