A dog bitten person after Bam earthquake, January 2004: an urgent vaccination approach

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Article Information:

Group: 2008
Subgroup: Volume 10, Issue 1
Date: January 2008
Type: Letter to Editor
Start Page: 46
End Page: 47


  • A Mehrabi-Tavana
  • Health Department, Baqiyatallah (a.s) University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Tehran, Iran


      City, Province: ,

Manuscript Body:

Dear Editor,

On the morning (5:28 am at local time 01:57 am Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) of December 26, 2003,1-6 an earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale struck the city of Bam in the Iranian Province of Kerman in the east of country, resulting in the death of >40,000 people, 30,000 injured, and some 75,000 homeless. A total of 18,000 buildings (87% of all buildings), including 131 school buildings, and nearly every healthcare facility was destroyed. The water supply network, electricity, and telephone lines were disconnected.7 The 2,500 year-old historic citadel of Bam (Arg-e-Bam) was destroyed completely. It should be noted that two vector borne diseases (i.e. Malaria and Coetaneous leishmaniasis,7 were endemic in Bam (Table 1).

In Bam at the time of the incidence, the risks of morbidity and mortality from communicable and noncommunicable diseases due to the breakdown of the health system grew sharply. Providing environmental, public health, and mental health services, managing the nutritional problems, waste and wastewater and rehabilitating of injured survivors were the main priorities during the recovery phase.8,9 During the rescue and aid to people who suffered in the earthquake in the early January 2004, a case of dog bite occurred to a 43 year old man who attended the area of incidence to help others. No signs and symptoms of zoonotic diseases were observed in him. Because of very fortunate prior vaccination of the dog against rabies. The wounded person was referred to Health Center in the area of disaster and vaccinated immediately within 20 minutes after the injury. Preventive measures were taken in order to prevent the similar threats in the disaster condition.

In conclusion, all dogs in disaster areas must be vaccinated against rabies efficiently. Furthermore, care must be taken in case of using such animals in disaster areas.

References: (9)

  1. WHO. WHO joins international effort to help Bam earthquake survivors? Bull World Health Organ 2004;82(2):156.
  2. World Health Organization. Preliminary indication of urgent requirements for those responding to the health needs of the affected population. 2003.
  3. United Nations. Flash Appeal Bam Earthquake of 26 December 2003. Islamic Republic of Iran Relief, Recovery and Immediate rehabilitation. Available at http://www.unicef.org/emerg/bam-irn-8jan.pdf. AccessedJanuary 2004.
  4. World Health Organization. Report by the WHO Representative’s Office in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Bam Earthquake, UN Flash Appeal: 90 Days, Health, and nutrition. Available at http://www.emro.who.int/eha/BamFlashAppeal-WR.pdf. Accessed April 2004.
  5. Earthquake OCHA Situation Report No. 3. Available at http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/0/a9a797ed8997ba2ac1256e090075eada?OpenDocument. Accessed January 2004.
  6. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Iran Earthquake OCHA Situation Report No. 6. Available at http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/0/7303bb60f5d9b7d5c1256e0a006a059, 2?OpenDocument. Accessed January 2004.
  7. Abolghasemi H, Radfar MH, Khatami M, Saghafi Nia M, Amid A, Susan M. Briggs International Medical Response to a Natural Disaster: Lessons Learned from the Bam Earthquake Experience SPECIAL REPORT. Prehospital Disaster Med 2004;21(3):141-8.
  8. Abolghasemi H, Poorheidari G, Mehrabi A, Foroutan G. Iranian military forces in the Bam earthquake. Mil Med 2005;170(10):859-61.
  9. Schnitzer JJ, Briggs SM. Earthquake relief. The US medical response in Bam, Iran. N Engl J Med 2004;350(12):1174-6.