Man dies of suspected rabies at Phatthalung hospital on Sunday

A man in Phatthalung province died of suspected rabies at the provincial hospital on Sunday two days after he was admitted for medical treatment.

Dr Thanit Sermkaeo, the Phatthalung provincial health official, said Tuesday that the 39-year old victim, a resident of Bang Kaeo district, was admitted to the provincial hospital on March 23 with symptoms identical to those of rabies.

Also, he said the man was reported to have been scratched by his pet dog about a month ago and he was not vaccinated until he was admitted to the hospital after developing rabies-like symptoms and was inoculated with anti-rabies vaccine.

However, the victim succumbed to his death on Sunday, making him the seventh fatality from rabies this year for Thailand, according to the public relations office of the Livestock Department citing the report of the Department of Diseases Control.

Samples from the victim's brain tissue were collected and sent to the Medical Science Department for examination to determine whether rabies was the cause of the death, said Dr Thanit, adding that the last rabies fatality in Phatthalung was recorded in 2011, after which there was no fatality until March 25.

He went on saying that health officials were trying to locate about 20 relatives and friends of the victim who had close contact with him for vaccination. Also, about 20 health personnel who were in close contact with the victim were vaccinated as a precautionary measure.

The seven rabies fatalities were reported in Trang, Songkhla, Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachuab Khiri Khan, Buri Ram and Phatthalung.

The seven deaths did not include the case of a Myanmar boy who was bitten by a dog in Myanmar and received treatment at Phob Phra district hospital in Tak province. The boy eventually died at the hospital.

According to the Livestock Department, over 3 million out of a total of 8.2 million dogs and cats have been vaccinated against rabies since last October. The department expects to vaccinate 80 percent of the population of dogs and cats at the end of May.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (ThaiPBS)