Published Date: 2009-07-03 15:00:06
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Rabies, human, canine - Viet Nam: (LI)
Archive Number: 20090703.2394
RABIES, HUMAN, CANINE - VIET NAM (LAI CHAU)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Wed 1 Jul 2009
Source: VNS, Viet Nam News agency [edited]
Northern Lai Chau Province announced a rabies epidemic after 4 people died
of the disease and at least 500 people had been bitten by rabid dogs in the
last 2 months. "The 500 cases only account for the number of patients who
got a rabies [vaccination] at the province's Preventive Healthcare Centre
after being bitten," said Do Van Giang, deputy director of Lai Chau
Province's Health Department, adding that the actual number of infected
people could be much higher.
Due to the high demand for dog meat, many local people transported dogs
from Phu Tho and Vinh Phuc provinces. These dogs then infected the local
dogs, leading to the rabies outbreak, said Nguyen Cong Huan, director of
the province's Health Department.
"More people will die of rabies because they do not get the vaccine," he
said. The cost for the vaccine is high -- nearly VND one million (USD 56)
for a course of 5 injections -- and 40 per cent of people in the province
have an average monthly income of VND 200 000 (USD 11), according to Giang.
"My pregnant daughter was killed by a rabid dog because she couldn't get
the vaccine in time," said a 64 year old in Lai Chau Town, who recovered
from rabies after several days of treatment in the province's hospital
[presumably as a result of prophylactic immunization before any symptoms of
infection developed. - Mod.CP]. "Authorities should support patients like
us and get us free treatment. If not, we will not be able to afford the
vaccine," said Thanh.
The province recently decreed that the poor would get free rabies vaccines
and others would get 50 per cent of the vaccine cost subsidised, said Huan.
Some local ethnic minorities lack information about the disease and choose
to treat it with herbal remedies instead of getting the vaccine. "Many
people rush around looking for herbal medicine after being bitten by dogs.
However, this is useless and causes more harm because there is no
scientific basis for this treatment," said Bui Tien Thanh, a doctor at the
province's General Hospital.
Local health officers have handed out leaflets about rabies and treatment
to educate people about the disease and have asked anyone who has been
bitten by dogs to go to the Preventive Healthcare Centre for treatment,
according to Nguyen Van Ngoc, deputy director of the Preventive Healthcare
Centre. "In addition, relevant authorities have increased the management of
dog transports from other provinces and are more closely monitoring the
province's current canines," said Huan.
So far, the province's Veterinary Department has vaccinated 4 dogs and cats
in the province. "It has been decades since the last rabies epidemic, and
the province is trying to stop the spread of the disease as quickly as
possible," said Giang.
HealthMap Alerts via
[A map of the provinces of Viet Nam can be accessed at:
<http://www.angelfire.com/co/hongnam/vnmap.html>. The province of Lai Chau
lies in the far western part of the northern region.
Rabies in Viet Nam continues to be a problem partly on account of lack of
regulation of the trade of dog breeding and provision of dog meat for human
consumption (see references below). Comprehensive vaccination of canines
would both protect human health and have long term economic benefits. - Mod.CP]