If a dog or cat causes even a minor bite or scratch, the Disease Control Department has advised that people seek medical help, as more than 135 rabies-stricken dogs were found during the past month alone.
“Don’t take those bites and scratches for granted,” said the department’s director-general, Dr Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, on Sunday.
A Livestock Development Department’s report revealed that more than 800 cats and dogs were found with rabies last year.
Rabies can be fatal if the infected person does not clean their wound or get vaccinated in time.
“If you wait till symptoms show, then it’s too late,” Suwannachai said.
He added that a recent survey found that many Thais still had the wrong perception about rabies, with 59 per cent believing the minor scratches by dogs and cats should not post any problems.
“If you get bitten or scratched, clean your wound with soap and water several times and add betadine to reduce infection risk,” he advised. “Then, head to the doctors to get a diagnosis and get vaccinations. Also make sure that you complete the whole dose.”
He added that if possible, people should detain for 10 days the dogs or cats that caused them injury and monitor their symptoms.
“If the animals die, alert livestock officials,” he said.
Suwannachai said pet owners should give yearly anti-rabies shots to their cats and dogs to help prevent rabies cases.
Earlier this year, a rabies-stricken dog bit so many people in Chiang Rai province that locals decided to kill the animal. Livestock officials later publicly said that instead of killing the dog, it would have been better to detain the animal and contact officials.