Cow dies of rabies amid new jab drive
SURIN: Another cow has died of rabies despite efforts to curb the disease that has already killed six cattle and threatened to infect hundreds of villagers and paramilitary officers who ate or handled the meat.
The death of the four-year-old female cow in Muang district brings a fresh worry to residents after the deadly virus sparked fear last week in Kap Choeng district, where the first case of a dead buffalo was reported. Since rabies hit many provinces in Thailand earlier this year, one person in Surin has succumbed to severe symptoms of the disease.
More than 400 people in the province have been vaccinated after they were found to have eaten or touched dead cattle, officials said. Some consumed the raw meat and were urged to get rabies jabs. Officials have also vaccinated cats, dogs and cattle after five buffaloes and one cow died in Kap Choeng district.
But the disease still managed to erupt in Ban Samrong in tambon Tha Sawang in Muang district, the province's city centre located north of Kap Choeng, after a cow owner found his animal died abruptly last Friday. A check by livestock officials confirmed it had contracted rabies.
The cow died after giving birth to a calf about 20 days before, its owner Prayat Michok said. Its death put Mr Prayat, together with his wife and their two neighbours, in a risk group after he admitted "we ate the calf's cooked placenta." They will be vaccinated against rabies today.
Mr Prayat said he learned that one buffalo in Ban Khok Cha, a nearby village in the tambon, was bitten by an infected dog, but its owner had the animal vaccinated. The dog was killed. He believed there are still "many mad dogs" in Ban Khok Cha and some other villages.
Last week Kap Choeng district chief Sutthiroj Charoenthanasak was kept busy finding ways to prevent a possible epidemic, including locating a paramilitary unit near a Thai-Cambodian after a report said some officers had eaten a buffalo.
Health officials in Surin have been urging people who touched or consumed meat from a buffalo that was later found to be infected with rabies to get vaccinated. An initial 113 people in Kap Choeng district were vaccinated last Monday. None of the villagers have shown signs of infection and most were believed to have cooked meat before eating it.