By THE NATION
As of yesterday, the situation in Thailand as reported by thairabies.net showed that at least 345 cases of animal infections had been confirmed this year, while Roi Et was found to have the highest number of confirmed cases, as there were already 69 reported.
According to the rabies infection database, the Northeastern region was still a hotspot for infections, as every province in the lower part of the region had confirmed rabies cases. Three provinces – Roi Et (69 cases), Surin (36) and Yasothon (22) – were the top three provinces for infections in the country.
The situation was also severe in other regions as well. In the South, Songkhla had 17 confirmed rabies cases, the fourth-highest confirmed number of cases. There has also been one death from rabies in Songkhla.
Nakhon Si Thammarat and Trang in the South also are concerned about the situation, with one confirmed case of a human being infected with the virus in Trang.
In the North, Chiang Rai had the highest number of cases in the region, with 10 confirmed.
Almost every province in the East also showed animal infections. In that region, Chon Buri had the most cases with 14 cases reported. Only Sa Kaew and Trat were still rabies-free in the region. Bangkok was also found to have five confirmed cases of animal infections.
It was found that 91.3 per cent of infected animals were dogs and 2.03 per cent were cats. Also, 60.25 per cent of infected animals had owners and only 32.61 per cent were strays. The majority of the infected animals did not have vaccination records or only had vague records.
Surge in cases
The Livestock Development Department has urged pet owners to vaccinate their pets, while the department has already dispatched teams to vaccinate |dogs and cats in the provinces that were deemed especially at risk.
According to statistics, the infection rate this year is much worse than in the previous years, as there have been 178 cases of rabies reported in February compared to only 79 cases in February 2017, 47 cases in February 2016 and 40 cases in February 2015.
Livestock Development Department director-general Apai Suttisunk said that even though there had been a rapid spread of the disease in many provinces, there were 22 provinces that still had not seen reports of infections for three years.
Apai said the department was working with the Livestock Development Offices in those provinces to maintain their rabies-free status in line with the criteria of the World Organisation for Animal Health.