Travel Talk

Dog Bite in Bangkok and Rabies Vaccines

Rabies patient from the US in the 1950’s

Good day,

I was out for a leisurely jaunt last night on my way to a delicious street side fiesta of sorts a few streets from Khao San when suddenly I felt this “NIP” on my right ankle, I was like “What the….!?” and look down and there is this skidly dog looking up at me with a case of the crazies in his eyes. It wasn’t but hard but dog bites are dog bites and it was right in my right ankle / calf region. The lady I was walking with was like “no big deal” and I brushed it off. The night continued…

I woke up this morning and still thought nothing of it, it didn’t bite me hard but being the prudent gentleman that I am, I figured why not talk to a pharmacist. This one guy tried to give me the antibiotics I had for my leg and charge me 2X what I paid previously. He tried to sell me half the quantity for the price I paid for double, I told him “no thanks”. I spoke with a few people and everyone said “You should be OK”. I even “think” I’ll be okay but man, the flip side is death and that dirty dog did bite me. I realized it was time to go to a hospital and inquire about pet meds aka vaccines.

I go in and talk with the Doc, he looks it over and says I “should be OK”, he did note that there is a small opening in the skin. I said ok, that’s reassuring, what happens if I’m not ok? He said all cases end in fatality. Really? Wow, not sure if I like those odds and I could be considered a “betting man” of sorts. I even asked him what the odds of the dog having rabies are, he said it’s an epidemic in Bangkok.

After an hour so reality sunk in. This “You should be OK” stuff isn’t good enough. I’m not down with being a petri dish for rabies, thank you. Imagine suddenly coming down with the symptoms below while in the middle of Asia or anywhere for that matter. Also once the virus is fully developed there is nothing you can do. I kinda thought to myself, wonder what it would be like to know that you’re going to get lock jaw, have central nervous system failure and a whole host of unpleasant side effects before eventually dying a painful death? It was a very unsettling feeling.

Symptoms (Wiki)

The period between infection and the first flu-like symptoms is normally two to twelve weeks, but can be as long as two years. Soon after, the symptoms expand to slight or partial paralysis, cerebral dysfunction, anxiety, insomnia, confusion, agitation, abnormal behavior, paranoia, terror, hallucinations, progressing to delirium.[7] The production of large quantities of saliva and tears coupled with an inability to speak or swallow are typical during the later stages of the disease; this can result in “hydrophobia”, in which the patient has difficulty swallowing because the throat and jaw become slowly paralyzed, shows panic when presented with liquids to drink, and cannot quench his or her thirst. The disease itself was also once commonly known as hydrophobia (or aquaphobia), from this characteristic symptom.

Death almost invariably results two to ten days after the first symptoms; the few humans who are known to have survived the disease were all left with severe brain damage, with one recorded exception purportedly resulting from implementation of the Milwaukee protocol.[8] It is neurotropic in nature.

I got up and went over to the Medical clinic and told him to hook me up with the immunoglobulin treatments. One thing I will note is I was kinda floored at the price, I knew it was pricey back home, but not like this, $1000US+. Well back home it’s the PRE-EXPOSURE vaccine, this is the post exposure one. Regardless of how much it costs to manufacture, they could charge what they want, if you have been placed at risk to something that will kill you, you’ll trade it all. In fact many people who get bit in Thailand have to fork over ~50% of their annual rate, wow I almost typed “annual rage”. “Rage” is what’s called in French FYI.

If I read correctly on wiki, deaths in Thailand have dropped significantly however ~400,000 post-exposure treatments were administered and 30-40% of the samples come back positive, I don’t like those odds.

Familiar with Rabies?  Wikipedia, notice how often they mention “Thailand”.

So yeah, tomorrow I go to the Bangkok Hospital and get the post exposure immunoglobulin treatment (shot) and then some other shot. Then I get another  3 days later, 7 days later, 14 and 28. OH JOY! To think, I was only in Bangkok still because I was letting my knee get better and now that’s gone the next day I get bit by a shady and agitated stray dog. Sweet.

That said, I’m in a new guest house now, I have A/C and free wifi so who really cares if I lounge here a bit, it’s quite comfortable except for this kid that won’t stop crying and his parents who aren’t doing anything about it, I hate that.

I digress.

I’m off to eat some stuff that looks tasty while avoiding dogs. Truth be told, I do avoid dogs this was just dark and I was walking past a vendor stall and I guess I spooked him or he is raging on rabies, either way I’m getting a tour of yet another South East Asian hospital.

Tips hat,

P.S: Dogs don’t usually go after you in these countries, I was passing by one of the many stalls and I’m assuming I spooked it or something. That said, be careful what you ask for, this trip isn’t boring but going “Hospital Hopping” wasn’t really on my things to do list.

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