Hanoi man dies of rabies after slaughtering dogs

By Le Nga   October 24, 2022 | 11:49 pm PT
Hanoi man dies of rabies after slaughtering dogs
Dogs are captured in Hanoi in 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dinh
A 50-year-old man in Hanoi died of rabies two months after slaughtering two dogs for their meat.

The man in Me Linh District developed a headache, fever, muscle pain, breathing difficulties and fear of water, wind, and light on Oct. 16, Hanoi Health Department announced Tuesday.

Two days later, his family took him to the district's general hospital where he tested positive for influenza B virus. During treatment, he was easily triggered and blabbed often.

On Oct. 19, he was transferred to Bach Mai Hospital, where doctors suspected that he had contracted rabies as he developed more serious agitation, severe vomiting, arrhythmia, and spasms. They sent his samples to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology for testing.

The results showed he was positive for the rabies virus.

He died the same day he arrived at Bach Mai.

An investigation later revealed that around two months ago, he had joined several others in his neighborhood to slaughter two homegrown dogs, which were around five months old and had yet to be vaccinated against rabies.

It is not clear if the patient had been bitten or got injured during the slaughtering process, but he had not gotten vaccinated against rabies.

In the first nine months this year, Vietnam had recorded 40 deaths caused by rabies in 16 cities and provinces, up two cases against the same period last year.

Rabies is transmitted mainly through the bite or scratch, or lick of a rabid animal.

This disease can be prevented and treated with rabies vaccine or anti-rabies serum. Serum injection is to introduce an available amount of antibodies into the body to neutralize the rabies virus, while the vaccine is to strengthen long-term immunity.

Rabies symptoms would include fear of water and wind, convulsions, and paralysis. Once a rabies attack occurs, the mortality rate is almost 100% for both humans and animals.

"After being bitten or scratched by dogs and cats or having them lick a wound, one should clean the injuries immediately with soap and clean water and visit a rabies vaccination facility as soon as possible. Any attempts to treat the injuries at home are absolutely not recommended," said Vu Cao Cuong, deputy director of Hanoi's Health Department.

Vietnam has a total of seven million dogs but only 40% of them were vaccinated against rabies in the first six months this year, the Health Ministry stated.

According to veterinary experts, the effective duration of rabies vaccine for dogs and cats is about 12 months, which means they need to be vaccinated once per year.

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