The media has reported a total of 49 human rabies deaths during the first 9 months of 2016. In 2015 there were a total of 67 human rabies deaths recorded.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Health (VMoH) advised that the human rabies deaths were recorded in 20 cities and provinces. In response the VMoH has urged the public to pay more attention to the prevention and treatment of dog bites, and to seek urgent medical attention if there has been any potential exposure to rabies.
Advice for Travellers
Vietnam is considered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be a high risk destination for rabies.
- Any animal contact in a rabies endemic area poses a potential risk of infection.
- All travellers to rabies endemic areas should be aware of the risk of rabies and advised to avoid contact with animals (both wild and domestic), particularly dogs and cats.
- Children are more vulnerable to rabies than adults as they are less likely to comprehend the risk of animal contact, less able to defend themselves from an animal attack and may not report a potential exposure.
- All travellers to endemic areas should be aware of immediate wound care and advised to seek medical attention immediately.
- Rabies pre-exposure vaccine is available for those considered to be at risk.