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Tips for avoiding dog bites

Dog bites are a leading cause of rabies and most victims are children. This is because children don't know much about the habits of dogs, even when the animal belongs to them.

In Laos, an average of four to five people die of rabies each year, and almost 90,000 people in the country were bitten by a rabid animal during 2002-11. Of these, 85,098 people were bitten by dogs, and the majority of victims were less than 30 years of age.

A total of 28 people died of rabies from 2012-16, with most victims bitten by a rabid animal.

A poster promotes World Rabies Day. -- Photo the Centre of Information and Education for Health

According to the World Health Organisation, almost 59,000 people are killed by rabies each year, with 95 percent of deaths in Africa and Asia.

Most of the victims were bitten by dogs, with children in the 5-14 age group accounting for 30 percent to 60 percent of all victims.

To tackle this problem, the Centre of Information and Education for Health has some health tips for the public on ways to avoid dog bites.

These tips include telling children not to throw stones, pieces of wood or anything else at dogs. People should keep away from dogs that are tied and should avoid dogs that are caged.

To avoid dog bites, people should not run or move quickly when they are close to dogs or walking past a dog. If a dog growls and walks towards a person, he or she should keep still and not move. People should not run and let the dog smell their body. The dog will usually walk away after smelling a person.

However, if the dog jumps at a person to hurt him or her, the first thing the person should do is to cover his or her face and bend the body as much as possible.

As rabies is almost invariably fatal if treatment is not quickly administered, health officials urge people to take care not to be bitten by animals and to get all pets vaccinated against the virus.

Anyone who is bitten by a dog, cat, monkey or other mammal should immediately clean the wound with soap to reduce the chances of infection. They are advised to get a vaccination against rabies from a veterinarian immediately.

Head of the Epidemiology Division of the Vientiane Health Department, Dr Chanthalay Sayavong, said if someone is bitten by a dog or other animal, they should immediately wash the wound with clean water and soap or detergent to partly remove the toxins. They should also squeeze out as much blood as possible from the wound. They should then see a doctor immediately, even for minor wounds.

A dog that bites should be sent to a vet to see whether it is carrying rabies. If the test is negative, the victim will be safe. But it is inadvisable to wait this long, as a tetanus vaccination should be administered with 24 hours of being bitten, and the person will need at least three vaccinations, he said.

Veterinarians too urged the public to get their dogs and cats vaccinated against rabies.

Rabies is a viral disease commonly caused by the bite of an infected animal, mostly dogs. It infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing death.

 

 

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update September 30, 2017)


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