Published Date: 2010-09-21 15:00:06
Subject: PRO/AH> Rabies, human, canine - Viet Nam (02)
Archive Number: 20100921.3404
RABIES, HUMAN, CANINE - VIET NAM (02)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Mon 20 Sep 2010
From: Merritt Clifton <firstname.lastname@example.org> [edited]
Re: ProMED-mail Rabies, human, canine - Viet Nam 20100920.3394
The Institute's [National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology
(NIHE)] director, Nguyen Tran Hien, who is in charge of the National
Programme on Rabies Prevention, is stated to have said that the
rising deaths related to rabies are a result of slack management by
health authorities and a lack of public awareness about the threat of rabies.
He didn't mention the biggest reason, though, and I am sure that he
knows about it. Viet Nam doesn't have very many street dogs -- I have
excellent sources on the ground there, in both the Hanoi and Saigon
areas, and they rarely see any. However, eating dogs is very common
in the north, especially in the Hanoi region, and as in China,
so-called "meat dogs" are not vaccinated.
Moreover, in Viet Nam -- unlike in China -- the custom is to eat
puppies who are too young to be vaccinated effectively. Which means,
basically, that the only way Viet Nam is going to eradicate canine
rabies will be through either changing the customs associated with
dog-eating, to eat only older vaccinated dogs, or through eliminating
Editor, Animal People
PO Box 960
Clinton, WA 98236
[This situation has been touched on previously in ProMED-mail (see
Rabies, via dog/cat butchering - Viet Nam: probable 20090318.1092)
and is amplified in the following article [edited] from the April
2009 edition of Animal People
Viet Nam drops dog meat regs after rabies case
Two recent human rabies deaths appear to have influenced the
Vietnamese government to withdraw a proposal to draft standards for
preparing dog meat for human consumption, and to reiterate a
decade-old but lightly enforced ban on eating cats.
The 1st rabies victim "had prepared and eaten a dog who had been
killed in a road accident; rabid dogs were known to inhabit the
neighborhood," reported Heiman Wertheim, MD, of the National
Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases and the National
Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi. "The 2nd patient,"
Wertheim said, "had butchered and eaten a cat who had been sick for days."
"In early February ," e-mailed Animals Asia Foundation founder
Jill Robinson, our Viet Nam director, Tuan Bendixsen, received an
official letter from the Central Department of Animal Health,
Ministry of Agriculture. Apparently they had received official
requests from various provincial governments asking for guidelines on
slaughtering dogs for human consumption."
Bendixsen responded by pointing out health risks to those involved in
preparing and consuming dog-meat, "highlighting parasites, rabies,
and leptospirosis," Robinson said.
Bendixsen in early March  was notified, Robinson added, that
the Vietnamese government had decided not to enact a regulation on
processing of dog meat for human consumption.
"Although a local government can enact such a regulation for their
own area," Robinson said, "usually they will not go against the
Central Government's directive. I'm now looking at getting the
Central Government to officially ban it instead of just not enacting it,"
"I don't have actual figures on dog eating in Viet Nam," said
Bendixsen, "but I feel dog eating is only popular in the north. There
is hardly any sign of dog meat restaurants in Saigon or elsewhere in
the south, and most of the people who eat dogs in the south are from
ProMED-mail thanks Merritt Clifton for drawing attention to this
aspect of rabies control in Viet Nam. - Mod.CP]