Will Thailand’s rabies outbreak ruin your Songkran plans?
MORE than 530,000 foreign visitors are expected to visit Thailand next month to take part in the super-soaking Songkran festival.
But could the latest outbreak of rabies ruin the fun?
The rabies virus has been reported in 40 provinces around Thailand, including some of the most popular areas for tourists such as Bangkok and Chiang Rai.
While the government is blaming pet owners for not taking their cats and dogs to get vaccinated, it is important to remember that there are over 700,000 stray dogs in Thailand and an estimated 300,000 of them are in Bangkok alone.
However, the authorities are acting fast to contain the outbreak and aim to vaccinate around 10 million cats and dogs by September. This figure includes strays and domestic.
The World Health Organization has confirmed that vaccinating dogs is the most effective way of helping to prevent further cases of rabies.
The Department of Livestock Development in Thailand has said that “more than 80 percent of dogs and cats” in the country will be vaccinated with the aim of eradicating rabies entirely by 2020.
What is rabies?
Contracting rabies is nearly always fatal as the virus quickly attacks your nervous system and causes victims to feel anxious with a burning headache and fever.
The most susceptible animals to the virus are dogs, cats, cows, and bats. Humans can catch it from being bitten by an infected animal but cannot pass it on.
Will this outbreak affect your trip?
Humans can be vaccinated against the virus and the vaccination can still work for a short period after rabies is suspected to have entered the body.
So, if you’re planning a trip, then book in to see a vaccination nurse and get the jab.
Despite the outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had said that rabies is “not a major risk” to most travelers to Thailand.
Ultimately, if you stay away from any animals, whether you suspect they are rabid or not, you will be fine. But if in some bizarre scenario where you are bitten, then seek medical attention immediately.
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Source: Travels travelwireasia.com