An elderly man in Tboung Khmum province on Tuesday died from rabies after he was scratched by his dog two months ago, but did not seek early medical treatment.
Tim Heng, 58, from Ou Reang Ov district’s Pratheat commune, was scratched by his dog while playing with it on December 25.
Try Pov, commune chief, yesterday said that a doctor confirmed that Mr Heng had died from rabies.
“According to the victim’s relatives, he played with his dog and it scratched his belly,” Mr Pov said. “He did not seek vaccination then because he thought it was just a minor scratch.”
Mr Pov said that last week Mr Heng had symptoms of rabies and when he went to see a doctor, he was told that it was too late to treat him.
Lieutenant Colonel Meng Lay, deputy chief of district police, yesterday said that although commune and village authorities have previously disseminated information about rabies, people do not bother to seek medical advice when they are bitten or scratched by dogs or cats.
“When a dog or cat bites them, they always think that there is no problem,” he said. “And when the disease occurs they go to seek treatment, but is already too late.”
Lt Col Lay urged people to be aware that vaccination is immediately needed after getting bitten or scratched by dogs or cats.
Chhorn Mony, deputy director of the provincial health department, yesterday said the department has set up a working group to conduct research and also disseminate information about rabies to the public.
He urged people to be alert and avoid playing with animals that could be infected.
Mr Mony said anyone who is bitten or scratched by a dog, cat or other animals should seek immediate treatment at referral hospitals or private clinics.
According to the Health Ministry, rabies is a disease caused by a virus that infects domestic and wild animals, such as dogs, cats, bats, monkeys and other mammals. It said that in Cambodia the disease is mostly transmitted to humans through dog bites. The ministry noted that rabies is fatal if victims do not receive sufficient vaccination on time after they are bitten.