Safety guidelines have been issued after a 32-year-old man in Surin became the first person this year to die of rabies.
Disease Control Department director-general Dr Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai did not reveal the name of the man who was bitten by a stray dog in November, after which he failed to seek an anti-rabies vaccination.
The man developed fever and had difficulty swallowing before lab tests confirmed he had rabies, Suwannachai said.
“If a cat or a dog scratches or bites you or licks your wound, you have to promptly clean the wound with soap and water repeatedly for about 10 minutes,” he advised.
“Then add Povidone-iodine [betadine] to lower the chance of rabies infection and see a doctor immediately for diagnosis and vaccination.”
Once vaccinated, continue consulting the doctor as per appointments.
“It’s also crucial that the animal be monitored for any abnormal symptoms or dies within 10 days,” he said.
Dr Suwannachai said people should avoid provoking animals lest they be scratched or bitten and take care to avoid stepping on any part of them.
You shouldn’t try to break up a cat or dog fight with your bare hands or take away any food they might be eating. Avoid all contact with unknown animals.
He urged people to have their pets vaccinated annually, which local administrative bodies administer for free from March to June.
More details are available from the department’s hotline, 1422.