A surge in rabies cases has claimed three lives in the provinces of Chonburi, Rayong, and Surin, due to a lack of adequate vaccination after contact with the disease. A 28 year old Myanmar man also died in Tak province after being bitten by a rabid dog while in Myanmar.
The Department of Disease Control’s Director, Dr. Tares Krassanairawiwong, reported that between January 1 and May 23, 2023, three deaths were recorded: one each in Chonburi, Rayong, and Surin, because the victims did not receive rabies vaccinations after contact with infected animals. Some cases involved individuals with prior vaccination history, but they did not receive a booster shot after being bitten.
The 28 year old Myanmar national who passed away in Tak province on May 3 had been in Myanmar during the middle of March when a dog bit him. His symptoms began on April 26 and he sought private treatment in Tak. His deteriorating condition led him to Mae Sot Hospital on April 28, where his saliva samples tested positive for rabies and he eventually died on May 3. Since the infection took place outside Thailand, the case is not counted as a local report. Nevertheless, health authorities are monitoring and following up with potentially affected individuals.
Tares warned that rabies is found throughout the year, especially in dogs and cats, and sometimes in cattle and buffalo. The virus enters the body through bite wounds, scratches, or contact with the saliva of infected animals.
Rabies patients tend to experience sudden and severe neurological symptoms. Early symptoms include fever, itching near bite wounds, pain, elevated body temperature, loss of appetite, fatigue, and headache. Later symptoms may involve restlessness, insomnia, delirium, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, muscle spasms, chest tightness, convulsions, and fear of light, wind, and water, known as the Furious form.
The disease has no specific cure but can be prevented through vaccination. Those bitten or scratched by animals, particularly if they are not vaccinated against rabies or have an unknown vaccination history, should clean the wound with soap and clean water for at least 15 minutes. They should then apply an antiseptic and confine the animal for close observation for up to 10 days. If the animal dies, notify local authorities immediately for testing and seek medical attention for a rabies vaccination. Currently, the vaccination involves four to five injections, reports Khaosod Online.
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