Health officials in Kampong Chhnang province called on the public who had been attacked by a dhole or dog to hurry up to get treatment at health centre rather than treating the wounds by themselves. They should also vaccinate against rabies immediately.
The call came after four villagers in Snor village of Boribor district’s Khun Rang commune had been attacked by a dhole, making them sustain light and severe injuries on May 24, according to local police.
Commune police chief Kim Sophat told The Post on May 25 that among the four victims were a 13-year-old boy and three women aged 18 to 34. He said that just after the biting incident, villagers flocked to surround the dhole, killed it and ate it without fearing of contracting disease from the animal.
“There had never been such a case in which a wolf came into the village to bite the people. It used to come to take the chickens or ducks of villagers when those poultries foraged for food in the field and in the bushes behind the village,” he said.
Yort Sa Em, one of the victims, said she was attacked on the knee and hand at 5am when she got down from her house to cook before leaving for her rice field. When she was cooking, a male dhole just attacked her.
“It came to bite me and I was in improvisation beat it with my hand. Then it came to by my leg on the upper of the knee. I took a stick and bit it on the back. It continued to run toward me. Then three other people living nearby came forward and beat it to death and cook it that morning,” she said.
Sa Em said she first did not go to health centre to get treatment, but instead treat the wound by using traditional medicinal wine. But on the morning of May 25, she and the other three victims went to get vaccinated against rabies at health centre as instructed by the official from the provincial health department.
Snor village chief Tuot Vibol said there were many wild dogs and dhole living in the forest and bushes behind the village. Every night, especially at the dawn, they make sounds loudly in the forest.
Sometimes they came out to chase villagers’ baby cows far from the village, but they never entered the village to bite the people in the past.
“After this incident, people in the village are scared of going to their rice field or farm in the early morning or later at night. They are afraid that the dhole come to bite them,” he said.
Kong Chanthea, head of technical office at Kampong Chhnang provincial health department, said all people who are attacked by a dhole or dog have to clean the wound using correct medicine, or they could get rabies.
“We did not know whether the dhole has rabies or not because it was eaten by villagers. But those who were attacked should get medical treatment in a timely manner, or they could die from the virus when it spread into the body,” he said.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), between 35,000 and 59,000 people around the world died from rabies every year, 40 per cent of them children aged under 15.