A veterinarian from eastern Iowa is part of an effort to reduce rabies deaths among children in Afghanistan. Army Major Loren Adams, of New Liberty, is serving with the Iowa National Guard’s 734th Agribusiness Development Team in east-central Afghanistan’s Kunar Province.
Adams is working with local veterinarians to trap and vaccinate dogs against rabies. Speaking by cell phone from Afghanistan, Adams says many kids are bitten while playing with rabid dogs, but parents often don’t realize what’s happened until the children get sick.
“And that’s when the parents go looking for health care and at that point, there’s nothing that can be done,” he says. “There’s a great lack of health care in these undeveloped countries.” Adams says the Afghan government is also working on a similar rabies eradication program. He says public health experts recommend vaccinating at least 70% of the dogs in a community to control the spread of the disease.
The World Health Organization reports more than 55,000 people die of rabies each year worldwide, with most of those deaths in developing countries.