Two neighborhoods in Turkey’s quake-hit Hatay under quarantine for rabies

The agricultural directorate in southern Turkey’s quake-hit Hatay province has announced that two neighborhoods were put under quarantine after several animals tested positive for rabies.

Burcu Özkaya Günaydın / Gazete Duvar

The district agricultural directorate in Turkey’s quake-torn Hatay province has detected rabies-infected stray animals in several neighborhoods and enacted a quarantine to control the viral disease. 

Head of the Medical Chamber of Hatay Sevdar Yılmaz stated that the chamber could verify one of the cases in the Döver neighborhood. At the same time, they were informed of additional cases in the province. 

The chamber was investigating the extent of the infection, prioritizing neighborhoods with high numbers of strays and animal husbandry. 

“Currently, we have no idea how many people or animals are infected, and in which neighborhoods. We will expedite our examination,” he noted. 

Yılmaz added that blocking animal passage was the main priority of the quarantines. Even a few cases warranted the quarantine to stop the spread of the infection.

The neighborhood administrations in Hatay have yet to be informed about the extent of the quarantines. Details are expected to be finalized within the week. 

In 2023, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) described the significant increase in the number of rabies cases in Turkey in recent years as “alarming.”

Lack of appropriate government programs, public education, and weaknesses in post-rabies exposure medical care and follow-up were the main reasons behind the rabies deaths still observed in the country, noted the association. 

The Global Alliance of Rabies Control reported that the infection is endemic for dogs in Turkey, and recorded 24 deaths per year from rabies. 

In addition, 177,670 people in Turkey received post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment in the last year. 

Rabies becomes yet another trouble for the residents of Hatay, after the two disastrous earthquakes of Feb. 6 2023 killed over 24,000 people.

Reconstruction has been insufficient in the province even after the one-year mark of the earthquakes. Thousands still reside in container temporary living units, lacking proper facilities and services. 

 (English version by Ayşenaz Toptaş)