BENGALURU: The Karnataka government has woken up to the national guidelines on administration of rabies vaccines 12 years later: it has scrapped its earlier system of granting 14 days’ leave to its employees attacked by rabid animals.

According to the new rules, state government employees bitten by rabid animals can take leave only on the days of vaccination -four days, to be precise. Moreover, the leave has to be availed only under the casual-leave category. Any excess leave can be availed under earned or privileged leave or half-pay leave categories.

A notification to this effect was issued on August 11 after making amendments to the Karnataka Civil Service Rules. The move, which will affect over 5 lakh government employees, puts an end to the practice of taking anti-rabies vaccination for 14 continuous days.

The government move to usher in changes came after allegations surfaced that employees were faking rabid bites to avail of leave. An education department employee, who did not want to be named, said: “It was easy to get a fake medical certificate from a doctor stating that the employee had suffered a dog bite than to lose salary or exhaust leave or face harassment from seniors. So, many would use these certificates to get 14 days leave.” A senior IAS officer told TOI: “The government had taken a decision to give 14 days’ leave to government employees bitten by rabid animals keeping in mind the then methods of treatment and logistics. But the government banned the use of Nervous Tissue Vaccine in December 2004 and replaced it with the Cell Culture Vaccine (CCV). The latest strides in vaccination now warrant just four shots for those attacked by rabid animals.The government has, thus, decided to scrap the previous system of 14 days’ leave.”

Health ministry guidelines:

The current regimen of intradermal inoculation of anti-rabies vaccines says the vaccine should be injected on the first day of the rabid bite, the third day, the seventh day and the 28th day. In fact, the Union ministry of health and family welfare had come out with guidelines for rabies prophylaxis and intradermal administration of CCV in 2007.

However, the Karnataka government had not made the changes for its employees.

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Source: TOI-BGLR