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Eating rabid water buffaloes puts Surin villagers at risk

Aug 15. 2018
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By The Nation

The recent deaths in Surin of four water buffaloes – three of which were later confirmed as from rabies but not before villagers had taken the animals’ meat to eat – have caused public fear of an outbreak of this incurable disease, which has killed 17 people so far this year in Thailand.

About 200 villagers in Tambon Kap Choeng in Kap Choeng district, have been deemed to be at risk from exposure to the animals and from eating the meat.

They have been urged to get rabies vaccination shots at the district hospital. The authorities have also vaccinated cats, dogs and buffaloes in the area.

In addition to the four buffaloes that died in Moo 3 and Moo 18 villages, a fifth buffalo in the same sub-district has died and showed symptoms suspected to be of rabies.

Its owner, a paramilitary ranger volunteer, reportedly took its meat to cook and eat with co-workers on July 31, district chief Suthiroj Charoenthanasak told a meeting on the matter on Wednesday.

Suthiroj said they would contact the man, along with whoever shared the meat, to encourage them to get rabies shots as soon as possible.

The suspicious death of a sixth buffalo in the sub-district has also emerged, and officials were investigating whether it was also a case of rabies, Suthiroj said.

Besides vaccinating those villagers at risk, along with pet animals and livestock, the authority have a plan to also sterilise cats and dogs to control the animal population. They also want kamnans and village headmen to alert them as soon as an animal has died in suspicious condition, Suthiroj added.

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