Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Companies importing vaccines have reported the supply of rabies vaccines this year is sufficient to meet the needs of the people, a representative of the Drug Management Administration under the Ministry of Health has said.
The Administration was worried about a potential shortage of vaccines, due to the increased need to vaccinate early in the year to prepare for the summer months.
Importers also voiced concerns about the fluctuating price of vaccines, and a dwindling global reserve. According to the administration, four types of rabies vaccines were granted permission for circulation in Việt Nam this year.
In order to ensure the adequate and timely supply, the administration has requested city and provincial health departments take direct control of vaccination units in their localities, and prepare them to reserves in case of an emergency.
City and province authorities have been given orders to work with a variety of importers to ensure they have a constant source of rabies vaccines in the event of a short term supply shortage.
Vaccination units at risk of running out of supplies should actively contact the importers and have more sent to them.
The administration also noted that hospitals and health centers must ensure they are stocked up, and should have a contingency plan in the event of a shortage.
The Health Ministry’s statistics revealed that 18 deaths from rabies were reported nation-wide in the first four months of this year.
The cause of all reported deaths was recorded as being from neglect of the wound post-bite. All cases occurred in rural areas where it is less common for dogs to be vaccinated against rabies, and where people’s lack of awareness leads to improper treatment.
The outbreak of rabies in domestic animals mostly occurs during hot summer weather, from May to August every year, and most cases of death from rabies were due to victims not seeking vaccination post- bite, according to doctors.
There is no specific treatment for rabies, however, the disease can be prevented with the rabies vaccine and serum.
To actively prevent rabies, the Ministry of Health recommended that people bitten by dogs must immediately wash their wounds with clean water and soap continuously for 15 minutes, then continue to wash the wound with alcohol.
It is also important not to cover the wound, and to visit the nearest health centre for first aid vaccination. People should absolutely not use herbal medicine, or any kind of self-treatment, doctors warned.
Three deaths from rabies were reported this year in Lào Cai Province due to neglect of post-bite vaccination.
Lào Cai Province’s health department reported that from the beginning of this year to April 15, a total of 1,020 people who had been bitten by a dog or cat were vaccinated.
Nguyễn Văn Sửu, director of Lào Cai Province’s Disease Control Centre said that the characteristics of climate in the highland area is complicated, and ethnic minority people still keep to the habit of raising dogs and cats in a free-range manner, thus the risk of domestic animals being infected with the rabies virus is very high.
The likelihood of the virus spreading to the surrounding area is also very high.
At present, there are over 10,000 domestic dogs and cats in Lào Cai Province. Of these, a large number have not yet been vaccinated. They remain a serious source of infection, Sửu warned.
The center is developing free post-bite vaccination plans for those who are poor, and for children under the age of 6, as well as health workers who are infected by rabies while on duty.
The Central Highlands province of Kon Tum reported four deaths from rabies in the first three months of this year.
All cases of rabies have begun with symptoms such as agitation, fear of wind, fear of water, and convulsions of the body.
Among four deaths, three were children aged from 6 to 11. They were bitten by dogs, two to three months before the onset of illness, and all four died without post-bite vaccinations and follow-up procedures.
In 2017, 74 people died of rabies in Việt Nam. The disease causes around 70-90 deaths every year, according to the Ministry of Health.
Dogs are the main source of human rabies deaths, contributing to up to 97 per cent of all rabies transmissions to humans. —VNS