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Health Officials Concerned about Rise in Rabies Cases in Thailand

The disease kills about 55,000 people a year worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, which said children under 15 are the most common victims

The disease kills about 55,000 people a year worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, which said children under 15 are the most common victims

 

 

BANGKOK – Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health is now posing concern for rise in rabies cases in Thailand as laboratory tests of stray dogs tested positive for the rabies virus.

The Ministry of Public Health has been actively campaigning to make all province free of rabies cases.

However under the campaign, some authorities are reluctant to report rabies cases of their provinces to the Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases of the Faculty of Medicines of Chulalongkorn University for laboratory tests.

According to Prof Dr Thirawat Hemajuta, director of the centre, laboratory tests found the rabies virus on dogs sent for examination.

Concerning health officials that the virus was spreading in Bangkok and adjacent provinces across the country.

Prof Dr Thirawat Hemajuta said the centre was worried because less cases were being reported or sent for laboratory tests, preventing accurate information to what the real situation is with regards to the spread of the virus.

According to Dr Thirawat Hemajuta this was attributed to the ministry’s rabies free zone campaign, which he said, caused authorities to report less rabies cases or ask for laboratory test in case of death.

He said this has prevented health officials from entering the communities for vaccination to prevent the spread of the virus.

He also said what he was worried was that rabies cases may rise from 10 cases a year to 20 or to 50 because of no  reporting which  as a consequence will weaken the present virus monitoring system.

For example, he said if there is one death rabies case, there need to keep others under monitoring system who could have contacted the victim.

He said rabies virus won’t spread immediately but may take 3-5 months to develop and spread.

Rabies virus can spread not only in hot season, but also in rainy season.

Rabies, a virus transmitted through saliva, causes acute encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and is almost always fatal if not treated early.
The disease kills about 55,000 people a year worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, which said children under 15 are the most common victims. – Thai PBS

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