According to health officials, at least nine fatal cases of human rabies have been reported throughout Thailand in 2018 as of Tuesday, May 22. According to local sources, the most affected areas include Surin, Songkla, Trang, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram, Prachuapkirikan, Phattalung, Nong Khai, and Yasothon.
Rabies is a viral infection of the central nervous system spread by infected mammals, most often dogs and bats. Transmission occurs via contaminated saliva transferred via bites and scratches or otherwise coming in contact with broken skin or mucous membranes (in the eyes, nose, mouth, etc.). If not promptly treated, rabies is nearly always fatal.
The main line of defense against rabies is to avoid contact with domestic, feral, and wild animals (mammals); a vaccine is available for at-risk individuals (e.g. people who live or travel to isolated areas, far from medical clinics) and treatment after transmission is possible if started before symptoms appear.
Individuals present in Thailand are advised to avoid all contact unfamiliar mammals (especially those acting erratically), make sure pets are vaccinated against the disease, and seek immediate medical attention if there is any possibility that transmission may have occurred.