Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Rabies: Still a threat: 60 000 cases a year

This article from the CDC is about a few women in VietNam who didn't get anti rabies vaccine after being bitten because they were pregnant or breastfeeding and worried it would harm their fetus.

But the article includes this terrible fact:
Most of the world’s estimated 60,000 annual rabies deaths occur in countries where canine rabies is endemic and where PEP is often inaccessible to bite victims (4).
but cases have decreased in Vietnam thanks to the availability of the antirabies vaccine:

Vietnam has made progress in reducing human rabies deaths. The number of human rabies cases declined 82%, from 505 cases in 1994 to 91 in 2016 (3). The expansion of PEP centers in the country has played a critical role in this reduction by increasing access to PEP. 

this chart is from the Philippine health dept: we have about 200 cases a year here, and there is a push to eliminate cases by providing the shots, and also dog control.

our new mayor has started providing free post exposure rabies vaccine at the local health clinics.

Alas, they keep running out of the free vaccines, so I have provided money for two people in the last three months so their kids can finish the series of shots. (650 pesos a shot, four shots: that is 13 US dollars. But the minimum wage here is 300 pesos or six dollars a day, so you can see the problem).

Stray dogs are a problem: The authorities will pick them up (and kill them, infuriating PETA and their ilk). But stray dogs are miserable: Thin, mangy, and usually shy.

But most of the bites are from neighbor's dogs, who weren't vaccinated.

The government does have rabies shot clinics in our farm areas, for farm dogs to get shots, and you can get free shots here for the dogs if you know when they hold the clinic, but not everyone is doing it.

We usually pay to have the vet come here and give Rabies shots to all our dogs in May each year. It is cheaper than paying for vaccine when a visitor gets bitten. Not just by George, our killer lab (who used to bite anyone who got close to him even though he is chained at all times) but even Joy's masseuse was bitten by one of our small pet dogs who didn't recognize she was a friend.

and this audiobook tells the story of rabies:

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