Ashanti Regional Veterinary Officer, Dr Mabel Abudu, has called for mass vaccination against rabies in the country.
According to her, it has become imperative owing to the number of fatal cases recorded in the Ashanti Region. She revealed that data on rabies spans from 2018 to date and the Service has 74 reported cases with the majority being in the Ashanti Region and others recorded in Bono Ahafo Region.
Dr Abudu indicated that victims of dog bites were 47 with 38 dogs confirmed with rabies.
“For us in veterinary services, we always carry out vaccinations as our daily routine work, but it is important that we institute mass vaccination nationwide. It was a programme that was being done when I joined the Service; there was mass vaccination year after year but along the line, I believe that due to funding it was actually [halted].”Dr Mabel Abudu
Dr Abudu noted that there are ongoing vaccination in clinics, both private and public veterinary hospital and mobile staff moving from house to house upon request to carry out vaccinations. However, she highlighted that there’s more to be done in dealing with rabies.
“… If we want to achieve our aim, the goals that we have set for ourselves, which is by 2030, the country should be free from rabies, then it is incumbent that we carry out a mass vaccination.”Dr Mabel Abudu
Eliminating rabies from the country
Commenting on the cases, Dr Abudu explained that data available to the Service are just the reported cases, as there are certain times that dogs bite people and they resort to consuming the dogs. Owing to this, she iterated that the number of recorded cases does not bode well for the country and something meaningful must be done.
The Ashanti Regional Veterinary Officer stated that the Service in August had a meeting on an upcoming national region workshop on rabies with the aim of eliminating “rabies from Ghana by the year 2030”. She revealed that the work started from 2018 and the Service is currently at the implementation stage.
“It’s a five year program. I do not know actually when it will start, maybe by the end of this year or beginning of next year, we are going to have a massive nationwide rabies campaign for a period of five year. I believe with that, we will be able to achieve our goal.”Dr Mabel Abudu
Elaborating on what rabies is, Dr Abudu revealed that it is a viral disease one can contract from an infected dog and through bites. She indicated that there are also instances where infections can occur through the handling of dogs by persons with abrasions on their skin.
“The virus is in the saliva and not the blood. So, when you have saliva drooping out and somebody kills it and you’re picking it up, unknowingly, because the virus is very active, you may even acquire it without knowing…”Dr Mabel Abudu
Dr Abudu stated that symptoms of dogs with rabies include hyperactivity and the tendency for these dogs to chase moving thing. She explained that ones that happens it progresses to paralysis, convulsion, coma and death. On the impact on humans, she revealed that there’s delirium, hydrophobia and then causes death in some cases.