|Unchained dogs without muzzles in the southern province of Cà Mau. — VNA/VNS Photo Kim Há|
HÀ NỘI — Heartbreaking deaths from rabies recently have raised alarm about the lack of control over dogs and low rates of rabies vaccination for these animals, said health experts.
Most of the victims who died from rabies had one thing in common: they were not vaccinated.
Last Friday, N.T.H, 49, from the central province of Quảng Bình, died of rabies four months after being bitten by a neighbour's dog, Thanh Niên reports,
The wound was on the index finger of his right hand. It was shallow without much bleeding.
After being bitten by the dog, H. washed the wound with water and did not vaccinate.
Two days after biting him, the dog died.
Since being bitten by the dog, H. had no symptoms and his health was normal. However, last Tuesday afternoon, he felt tired.
The next day he became seriously ill and was taken to a hospital by his family and was diagnosed with rabies.
Although he was treated, he died two days later.
H. is just one of many patients who died from rabies after being bitten by dogs.
Recently, the number of deaths from rabies has increased in many localities.
In Gia Lai Central Highlands Province, in the first six months of this year, eight people died from rabies. Đức Cơ District leads with three cases, Chư Sê, Chư Pưh, Chư Prông, Kông Chro, Đắk Đoa districts have one case each.
Bình Phước Centre for Disease Control said that so far this year three people in the province have been bitten by rabid dogs, causing one death.
In Nghệ An central province, three people died due to being bitten by rabid dogs, including two children.
According to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE), 2.5 million people received rabies prophylaxis in 2017-21, accounting for 2.25 per cent of the population.
If local authorities and the veterinary sector do not control rabies in animals, the cost of treatment will be 150 times more expensive than animal disease prevention, said the NIHE.
Last year, the whole country recorded 70 deaths from rabies in 25 provinces and cities, of which the most were in the provinces of Bến Tre (13 cases), Kiên Giang (five cases), Nghệ An (five cases) and Quảng Bình (five cases), an increase of five deaths compared to 2021.
According to the Department of Animal Health, the leading cause of the increase in rabies is the low vaccination rate for cats and dogs.
The total herd of dogs and cats in the country now reached nearly seven million, while the average vaccination rate is very low, reaching about 40 per cent.
Currently, only 13 provinces and cities achieved vaccination rates of over 70 per cent.
The loose management of animals is also an important cause of increasing rabies. Most infected animals are strays.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that rabies causes the death of 60,000 to 70,000 people and millions of animals every year.
Rabies is an extremely dangerous disease because when it occurs, patients generally die.
However, many people are still negligent and do not understand the risks, so they are very subjective or treated in the wrong way.
Rabies is caused by the Rhabdovirus, which is found in the saliva of animals with the disease and is spread through a bite or lick.
Most rabies virus is found in warm-blooded animals, especially dogs. In addition, rabies virus is also detected in cats, ferrets, bats and other mammals.
Once it enters people’s bodies, the rabies virus infects the peripheral nerves, running along the nerves to the spinal cord and brain.
Every day, the rabies virus moves from 12 to 24mm through the body.
When the virus reaches the brain, the patient has clear symptoms.
The incubation period for rabies can be less than one week or more than one year depending on the amount of virus entering the body, the severity of the wound, and the distance from the wound to the central nervous system.
The closer to the central nervous system the wound is, the shorter the incubation period.
|A youth parade to spread information about rabies prevention and control in Đức Huệ District, the southern province of Long An. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Bình|
According to the WHO, there is currently no drug that can cure rabies. During a rabies attack, the mortality rate is extremely high.
The only way to save people after being bitten by a rabid dog or cat is to get a rabies vaccine as soon as possible.
The effectiveness of rabies vaccination can be clearly seen in the case of T.M.Q, 11, from Đồng Hới City in the central province of Quảng Bình, related to the case of the dog that bit N.T.H.
Q. was bitten by the dog on the same day as N.T.H.
Immediately after being bitten by the dog, his family took Q. to the Quảng Bình Province's Centre for Disease Control to inject rabies vaccine with the correct doses.
Currently, Q.'s health is normal.— VNS
How to prevent rabiesTo proactively prevent and control rabies, the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health recommends that people should take the following measures:Vaccinate all domestic dogs and cats, and repeat this every year as recommended by the veterinary industry.Dogs should wear a muzzle when going out.When bitten by a dog or cat, the patient should wash the wound immediately under running water with soap continuously for 15 minutes. If soap is not available, wash the wound with clean water. This is the most effective first aid against rabies.The wound then should be cleaned with alcohol of 70 per cent purity or povidone-iodine (if available).Do not cover the wound.Immediately go to the nearest medical centre for advice and get a rabies vaccination. Only vaccination can prevent rabies.Absolutely do not self-treat or ask a herbalist to treat you.