ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Can People Get Rabies by Drinking Milk?

Got rabies?
Last week the Kuensel ran a story about about 150 people waiting to be vaccinated for rabies in Sarpang (Hundreds rush to hospital, 15/3/2012). People drank milk that came from an association where two rabid calves were found. Most of the people drank the milk after it was boiled, but some of them drank raw milk. And according to the story, the hospital is planning to vaccinate everyone who drank milk, whether boiled or not.

I've never heard of people getting rabies by drinking milk, so I ran a quick search online. I found credible information on the CDC's website. To summarize, nobody really knows if one can get rabies from drinking unpasteurized milk. It is theoretically possible. One thing is clear, though: If the milk is pasteurized or boiled, the risk is eliminated.

Another thing I learned is that rabies shots in the U.S. are extremely expensive: They range from $2,500 to $4,000 for a single person. If I got my math right, then to vaccinate 150 people would cost up to $600,000.

Update (20/3/2012): On Saturday, 17/3/2012, the Kuensel published another story on the topic. According to the update, 435 people received the anti-rabies vaccine. Also, people were informed that they do not need to take the vaccine if they did not consume raw milk. Does the fact that so many people still received the vaccine implies that people consume raw milk?