The Son La provincial People’s Committee collaborated with the country’s ministries for health and rural development on September 29 to hold a meeting for World Rabies Day 2013.

The event, in Son La city, was also joined by representatives of the World Health Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations and over 1,000 local people.

The northern mountainous province of Son La has recorded 11 cases of rabies being spread to humans by dogs so far this year, 12 fewer than last year.

In the first eight months of 2013, rabies was recorded in 20 cities and provinces across the country, especially in mountainous and midland areas where there have been thousands of cases and many people have received vaccinations.

Meanwhile, rabies spread by dogs has claimed the lives of 74 people this year who were not vaccinated or did not receive treatment quickly enough after being bitten by a rabid dog.

According to Professor Nguyen Tran Hien, Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and head of the management board of the rabies prevention project launched by the Health Ministry, the transmission of rabies from animals to humans can be prevented.

However, prevention measures against the disease have been neglected in Vietnam, he said, warning of the huge risk of disease transmission without good management of dogs.

Addressing the function, Vice Chairman of Son La Province’s People’s Committee Nguyen Ngoc Toa presented measures to eliminate the disease by 2020.

They included improved dog management and more education on how to prevent rabies being spread by dogs. Advice included keeping dogs on a lead or muzzled when on the street and ensuring the animals are vaccinated.

Rabies remains a major concern worldwide, killing more than 55,000 people every year.

World Rabies Day was officially launched in 2007, aiming to raise awareness about the public health impact of human and animal rabies.-VNA