Accra, Sept. 24, GNA – Dog owners have been advised to vaccinate their dogs once every one or two years per information from the World Health Organisation.
Mass vaccination has had the advantage of interrupting dog to dog transmission to achieve dog herd immunity of 70 per cent of the dog population.
Dr Lawrence Lartey, Public Health Specialist at the Ghana Health Service, gave the advice in Accra at the launch of this year’s World Rabies Day.
It was on the theme: “One Health, Zero Death. »
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture under the auspices of the GHS has begun sensitization and intense education on ways of curbing rabies at the source to mark the commencement of World Rabies Day Celebration.
The day coincided with the recent record of cases of human rabies in the Ashanti Region.
Owing to this, the GHS had developed the « One Health Approach » to aid in increasing knowledge about the effects of both human and animal rabies and to step up efforts to eliminate it.
The Approach is an intersectoral collaborations between institutions concerned with human health, animal health and environmental health.
It focused on the diseases’ prevention and control, data collection and analysis, dog population management, information, education, and communication, intersectoral collaboration and legislation.
Dr Lartey said the ‘zero by 30’ strategy had three approaches which included mass vaccination of dogs, accessible post exposure vaccines for human and community education.
Dr Lartey said that human vaccines were expensive such that for every exposed person who received a Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) vaccine, 50 dogs could have been vaccinated at the same cost.
He urged the public to report suspected rabid dogs to authorities, protect their children from coming into contact with and protecting both domestic and free roaming dogs and maintain sanitation to discourage free roaming dogs in the communities.
He said even though the Ministry of Health assured the public of availability and access to post exposure vaccines, human rabies prevention should not rely on PEP.
Dr Patrick Abakeh, Chief Veterinary Officer at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said dogs were the primary carrier of human rabies since they were considered to be man’s favourite companion.
According to Dr Abakeh, rabies death in humans was 100 per cent preventable through prompt and appropriate medical care.
The Chief Veterinary Officer, providing data on the disease, said four out of the seven samples submitted to the Accra Veterinary Laboratory were positive, representing 57.1 per cent of the total.
“This year seven samples have been received so far and 28.5 per cent were positive,” he added.
He called on development partners to support the government in eliminating rabies in the country.