In Cambodia, World Rabies Day (WRD) was celebrated in two communes: Preah Puth and Takhmao City. Rabies affects both animal and human health, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and Ministry of Health (MOH) joined to support these WRD activities for members of the communities. Plans are being made for a mass dog rabies vaccination campaign.
Meetings were organised with OIE RRAP support in Preah Puth and Takhmao City communes to enhance rabies awareness for key stakeholders. Over 160 people attended each celebration – in Preah Puth: children (n.80), parents (n.60), teachers (n.3), Cambodia Center for Disease Control and Prevention (C-CDC, n.2), local authorities authorities (n.5), village leaders (n.2), and representatives from the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production (GDAHP, n.5), Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (PDAFF, n.4) and Provincial Department of Health (PDOH, n.5); in Takhmao City: children (n.82), parents (n.60), teachers (n.5), C-CDC (n.2), local authorities (n. 4), PDAFF (n.4), PDOH (n.5) and commune chiefs (n.2).
Participants were informed of the importance of responsible pet ownership, dog population management, vaccination in dogs, how to avoid dog bites, post-exposure treatment in people and information sharing. The OIE RRAP supported translation and printing of awareness materials in the khmer language to distribute at the meetings.
The Director of PDAFF opened the ceremony with welcome remarks. The PDOH representative then gave a technical report of dog bite injuries in Cambodia. Of 600,000 dog bites each year, 80% are severe (WHO Category 3) and 60% are in children under 17 years of age. However, only around 5% of cases consult a rabies vaccination centre – meaning that 95% do not receive appropriate prophylaxis after dog bites. The GDAPH representative gave a report on dog vaccination. Cambodia is moving forward to improve rabies vaccination in dogs, but currently it is estimated that less than 2% of dogs in rural areas are vaccinated.
A presentation by human and animal health technicians stressed that most rabies cases in people are from dog bites but the disease is 100% preventable if appropriate treatment after a bite is given before the onset of clinical signs:
After the presentations, participants took a quiz on rabies and awards were given to the winners.
The GDAPH plans to soon endorse their National Strategic Plan for Rabies Elimination jointly by MAFF and MOH and request OIE for 50,000 doses of rabies vaccines for mass dog vaccination campaigns in the future.
*Source: General Directorate of Animal Health and Production, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Kingdom of Cambodia