The Accra Metropolitan Assembly’s Veterinary Clinic recorded 428 stray dog bites from January to August this year, out of which 16 were positive for rabies, Dr Kwasi Darkwa, President of the Ghana Veterinary Medical Association, said on Tuesday.
In 2008, 673 dog bites were recorded from stray dogs out of which 24 were positive for rabies. These statistics indicate that stray dogs pose serious public health hazard for rabies control, Dr Darkwa said in Accra at the launch of this year’s World Rabies Day.
Dr Darkwa suggested that to control the disease, there was the need to reinstate the free national anti-rabies vaccination, which was stopped in 1994, and to destroy stray dogs found on the streets. He called on stakeholders to get involved in ensuring the preventive and control efforts put in by the Veterinary Services Department of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
The Day, which comes with the theme, “Rabies - A Neglected Public Health Menace”, will be held on Monday, September 28, to draw the attention of the world to the rabies disease and its public health implications, and with the emphasis that there is a vaccine to prevent its occurrence.
Rabies is an acute fatal disease caused by a virus transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. It affects not only dogs and cats but all mammals including human. “Despite being 100 percent vaccine preventable, one person dies from this every 10 minutes worldwide,” Dr Darkwa said.
The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Livestock, Dr Alfred Tia, called on stakeholders to go the extra mile in their preventive efforts in controlling the rabies menace.
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