35 Vietnamese people die of rabies

Over 35 deaths have been reported in Vietnam in first six months of the year due to rabies, according to a health official.

Rabies cases have increased in recent years in the country, said the Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Nguyen Tran Hien.

From 2001-2003, around 30 people died resulting from the dangerous disease; however, in 2007, 131 fatalities have been reported; it is 91 and 64 in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Poor awareness of residents, neglectful behaviors of health workers and the practice of free-range breeding of animals have caused increased number of rabies victims.

In successive years, all health forces concentrated on eradicate these fresh diseases including SARS, influenza H5N1 and H1N1, acute diarrhea, people neglected the dangerous disease commonly caused by dogs.

Lax behaviors have led to low rate of animals being vaccinated with 60 percent of vaccinated dogs in some parts of the country while in other regions, no vaccine has been administered to animals. Due to poor awareness and relaxed behaviors, fatalities resulting from the serious disease still occurred in the country although it in humans and domestic animals is entirely preventable through vaccination.

Assistant Professor Dr. Dinh Kim Xuyen, former Standing Chairman of the National Rabies Prevention Project fretted that residents can rear as many dogs as they wish without vaccination but they didn’t receive any penalties. People can sell or kill animals which have symptoms of the disease. Bitten people practiced a relaxed behavior as they don’t go to the nearby medical clinics to be immunized against rabies.

Dr. Hien warned people should inject their pets and not let them move freely. Infected victims should immediately clean the wound with soap or salt water and go to nearby hospitals for injecting rabies vaccine.

By Q. Khanh - Translated by Thu Nha

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