Ebonyi state begins anti-rabies vaccination

The Veterinary Services in the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Ebonyi state Southern Nigeria, has begun anti -rabies vaccination campaign against dog bites.

The state’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Uchenna Orji, said at the launch of the campaign at Veterinary School in Ohaukwu Local Government Area that the spate of dog bites in the state was “alarming”.

The commissioner, who was represented by a Director in ministry, Mr Ibiam Okoro, said most of the referred sample cases of dog bites reported to the Nigerian Veterinary Research Institute, VOM in Jos were confirmed positive of rabies.

“I want to inform you that sample cases of the dog bites reported and referred to VOM in Jos, Plateau State came out positive, which shows that we have rabies in the state,” he said.

Mr Orji added that as incentive, “the first 40 dogs to be brought to the centre would receive free vaccination”.
He also urged the state veterinary services to ensure that all dogs were vaccinated, registered and given certificates.

The theme “Educate, Eliminate and Vaccinate against Rabies”  is aimed at sensitising the public on the dangers of dog bite and its consequences.

Rabies is an infectious viral disease that is almost always fatal following the onset of clinical signs. In up to 99% of human cases, the rabies virus is transmitted by domestic dogs. Rabies affects domestic and wild animals, and is spread to people through bites or scratches, usually via saliva.

Rabies

According to the World Health Organisation, Rabies is a viral disease found mostly in dogs and it contributes 99% of all transmission of the disease to humans

WHO further classifies Rabies is a neglected disease of poor and vulnerable populations whose deaths are rarely reported and where human vaccines and immunoglobulin are not readily available or accessible. It occurs mainly in remote rural communities where children between the age of 5–14 years are frequent victims.

The average cost of rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can be the cost of catastrophic expenses for poor populations, since a course of PEP can cost US$ 40 in Africa and US$ 49 in Asia, where the average daily income is about US$ 1–2 per person.

Prevention

The prevention of human rabies is dependent upon the effective and verifiable control of the disease within the domestic dog population, being the most common reservoir of the virus and cause of more than 95% of human cases. Dog-mediated human rabies is completely preventable using biologicals and tools that could be accessible even in low-resource settings. Public awareness, health education, dog vaccination and the availability and accessibility of PEP are key for rabies prevention and control.

Key facts

  • Rabies is a vaccine-preventable viral disease which occurs in more than 150 countries and territories.
  • Dogs are the source of the vast majority of human rabies deaths, contributing up to 99% of all rabies transmissions to humans.
  • Rabies elimination is feasible by vaccinating dogs.
  • Infection causes tens of thousands of deaths every year, mostly in Asia and Africa.
  • 40% of people who are bitten by suspect rabid animals are children under 15 years of age.
  • Immediate wound cleansing with soap and water after contact with a suspect rabid animal can be life-saving.
  • Every year, more than 15 million people worldwide receive a post-bite vaccination. This is estimated to prevent hundreds of thousands of rabies deaths annually.

Rafat S.