Vietnam: Rabies deaths reported in Lao Cai province


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The Lao Cai Provincial Disease Control Center has recorded information on the case of a Lao Cai woman who died of rabies and was treated at the Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases.


The patient is a 23-year-old female of the H’Mong ethnic group residing in Tham Phuc Village, Coc Ly, Bac Ha.

About 18 months ago, the patient was bitten by the family dog ​​on the left index finger with bleeding, 3 days after the patient was bitten, the dog died. The patient has not received a rabies vaccine or a rabies vaccine. After that, the patient went to work in Hanoi until January 2023. The patient showed signs of illness and went to a private hospital and was transferred to the Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases with the following symptoms: fatigue, irritability, shortness of breath, and convulsions. Excessive sputum secretion. On January 17, 2023, the patient was assigned to take samples of saliva and cerebrospinal fluid for testing, and the results were positive for the rabies virus.

On the afternoon of February 18, 2023, another case was reported. A student born in 2007, studying at Lao Cai College, was bitten by two stray dogs while doing sports, and then attacked by local residents. He was discovered and taken to the County General Hospital where the patient was in a panicked state, with multiple injuries all over the body, about 10 large wounds causing deep soft lacerations and many more cuts from canine teeth.

What is rabies and how do you get it?

Rabies is an acute viral infection that is transmitted to humans or other mammals usually through saliva from the bite of an infected animal. It is also rarely transmitted through breaks in the skin or contact with mucous membranes.

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What types of animals are considered to be at high risk of contracting the virus?

According to the Infectious Disease Control Handbook, all mammals are susceptible to rabies. Raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, dogs, coyotes and cats are likely suspects. Other animals such as otters and ferrets are also at high risk. Mammals such as rabbits, squirrels, ferrets, and opossums are rarely infected.

How do infected animals appear?

They can appear very aggressive and attack for no reason. Some may act very tame. They may appear to deflate or drool because they cannot swallow their own saliva. Sometimes the animal may cringe (this can also be seen in grouchiness). Not long after that point they will die. Most animals can transmit rabies days before symptoms appear.

What kind of symptoms would it cause in humans?

At first, as in many diseases, the symptoms are nonspecific; Fever, headache and malaise. This may last several days. There may be some pain and discomfort at the site of the sting. Symptoms then progress to more severe: confusion, delirium, abnormal behavior, and hallucinations. If it gets this far, the disease is 100% fatal.

What if I get (bite, scratch) by an animal?

First, clean the wound thoroughly with soap and water for 5-10 minutes. This will help reduce the chance of developing another bacterial infection and some studies show that it can reduce the likelihood of developing rabies. Next, get a good description of the animal in order to monitor the animal so it can be picked up for quarantine or rabies testing.

Go see your family doctor or the emergency room. Although it is not technically a medical emergency, it is important to seek medical attention quickly so that appropriate treatment is given at the right time. If you must shoot or otherwise kill the animal, be careful not to damage the head. The brain will be required to be tested for rabies.

Your doctor will assess the type of exposure (bite, scratch) and the type of animal you were in contact with. If post-exposure treatment is required, it will likely be a combination of rabies immune globulin (RIG) and rabies vaccine. RIG is given as a single dose. Immunoglobulin (RIG) is a preformed antibody that provides immediate protection until you respond to the vaccine. The vaccine will help your body produce antibodies to the virus, but this takes time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), immune globulin (RIG) should be administered, if possible, around the wound itself. Any remaining RIG should be given intramuscularly away from the bite. The rabies vaccine is not like the old days, 20 shots in the stomach; Instead of four shots in the shoulder area.

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