What should be done to raise awareness about the danger of rabies?
According to the National Centre for Laboratory and Epidemiology in Laos, from 2012-2017 there were 264 rabies cases from dog bites and 23 deaths. Rabies can be transmitted to humans by many kinds of animals but dogs transmit more than 90 percent of infections. To mark World Rabies Day on September 28, the Ministry of Health in cooperation with World Health Organisation is providing free dog vaccinations to prevent rabies infections.
Vientiane Times asked some members of the public about their thoughts on this issue.

Mr Houmphan Chanthavong, a student of Xaysettha district: I know about rabies, it’s very dangerous and it can be transmitted to humans. So we need to bring our pets to the vet to get them vaccinated every year or follow the advice of veterinarians. Of course, there are many who people still don’t understand enough about the effects of rabies so authorities should provide more information to communities. In addition, we should be careful when we living near animals especially stray dogs because they have a high risk of being rabies infected.

Ms Bounthong Ketnoulath, an official of Xaythany district: I love dogs and I have many dogs at my house. I’ve heard the news about the spread of rabies and it’s very scary but I don’t worry about my pets. I know about rabies and I always take my pets to the vet to get them vaccinated. I would like to call on all pet owners to pay special attention to preventing rabies and all other diseases. It’s more dangerous for our pets as it can spread very fast if they aren’t vaccinated.

Ms Soumaly Pholboudy, a student of Borikhamxay province: It’s more dangerous if pets get infected as rabies can spread to humans if they are bitten by an infected animal. Although the health and other sectors have vaccinations to prevent this disease, there are pets, especially dogs, that still get infected and sometimes rabies spreads to humans. I think this could be because most pet owners don’t understand the consequences of rabies and so they don’t bother to get their pets vaccinated. Another problem is that we don’t have many professional vets. Many of them have received some training but they aren’t qualified veterinarians. So, it’s quite hard to fight an outbreak of disease and provide proper treatment to sick animals. I think the authorities should provide suggestions to communities about ways to prevent all diseases, and give advice to the public about ways to treat animals to reduce infections.
Ms Boun, a resident of Luang Prabang province: Although we have a vet near our village, it’s quite difficult to treat animals when they get sick. It would be better if everyone did more to prevent diseases among their animals. We should report incidents to the authorities if animals fall ill to ensure there are no major outbreaks of disease. Another problem is that the price of vaccines is quite high because most animal clinics are privately owned. If possible, the authorities should provide vaccinations whenever there is an outbreak of disease to stop it spreading. They should advise pet owners how to protect their animals from diseases. In addition, pet owners should get their animals vaccinated.    

Mr Chanthala, a resident of Saravan province: Some dogs in our village died during an outbreak of rabies some time ago. I think it was because there are many pet owners who still don’t understand how they can prevent this fatal disease, and they also don’t bother about vaccinations. It would be good if everyone did more to protect their animals. They should especially ensure that animals are vaccinated by veterinarians. And the authorities should actively advise the public about ways to prevent rabies and other diseases.

By Lamphone Pasanthong
(Latest Update September 28, 2018)

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