・Priyakamon Khan1,5,6／Naila Al Mahmuda2,5,6／Md. Golam Abbas3,5,6／Manirul Islam Khan5,6
“Risk of Rabies Exposure among the Foreign Backpackers and its impact on Tourism Industry in Thailand”
Rabies, a very big public health problem in the Southeast Asia where large numbers of backpackers visit each year. During July to December 2014, a survey was conducted by our team among the foreign backpackers in Bangkok, Thailand to assess their risk of rabies exposure as well as effects on tourism. One thousand five hundreds and eighty five filled questionnaires were collected and analyzed. Tourism was the main reason (76.6%) for travelling to Thailand. The majority of the backpackers were within the age group 25 to 35 years old. Most of them were from European (47.7%), followed by North American (26.9%). Rest was from Asia and Africa. 90% had sought health information before traveling but only 41.8% had received information about rabies. Most (65.9%) of the backpackers had not been vaccinated for rabies at all. Only 22.6% had completed pre-exposure rabies vaccination course before travel. The cost of the vaccine was the major reason (80.9%) those who had not been vaccinated. Almost all backpackers (89.9%) knew that they could get rabies if bitten or licked on broken skin by an infected animal. 91.1% European and American knew that bats are the major reason for human rabies transmission along with 56.1% knew dogs also transmit this. Almost all (99.2%) Asian and African knew that dogs are the main source for rabies transmission. In this study, the incidence of being bitten and or licked was 5.54%. Among the 74.6% of European and American backpackers, 54.9% will think once more (whether they will visit or not) before they plan to visit South East Asia and 35.7% will inform their friends/relatives about the risk of rabies exposure in South East Asia which might decrease the number of tourists in this region (especially in Thailand) and finally may impact negative effects on the tourism industry.