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Sierra Leone News: World Rabies Day

Dogs being vaccinated against rabies

Sierra Leone joined other nations to celebrate World Rabies Day with the theme, “Share the message. Save a life”. In 2017, Sierra Leone recorded 1,481 animal bites and between January and September this year there were 967 animal bites. There were 12 suspected rabies deaths. Rabies is often not confirmed in the animals and often the dog is killed and buried without adequate testing. The Animal Welfare Society is the only institution to accurately diagnose rabies with a slice of the animal’s brain, dyed purple, under a microscope. The roundtable commemoration at the Family Kingdom on Friday 28 September 2018 was in line with the National strategy for the eradication of rabies and enhancement of dog population management between 2015-2030. Rabies is a viral disease that affects both human and other mammals. The Ministries of Agriculture and Health have been collaborating with strategic partners to control and eradicate rabies by 2030. The Program Manager for Neglected Tropical Diseases in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Kargbo-Labour, called on parents to report any dog bites. A dog bite should be washed with running water and soap. The Food and Agriculture Organization, Country Director, Dr. Nyabenji Tipo, revealed that rabies cases were recorded 69-years ago and has caused problems for animals and humans. She pleaded with citizens to be responsible dog owners. Dr. Gudash Jalloh, Director of the Animal Welfare Society and one of the country’s only veterinarians, has been working with rabies eradiation and responsible dog ownership for over 30-years. He said, “I’m called to the hospital sometimes to consult on dog bites but without laboratory confirmation, we cannot determine how widespread the disease is.” The USAID Global Health Security Adviser supports efforts of the ‘One Health’ platform to ensure by 2030 zoonotic diseases especially rabies is eliminated. She expressed continuation on the community awareness on dogs and animals control, behavior change stating that rabies control is a most. The Resident Adviser for Field Epidemiology Training Program at the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Marta Guerra, said rabies is a fatal zoonotic disease that causes thousands of deaths worldwide annually. She said in Sierra Leone it is estimated to cause approximately 5 deaths/100,000 population, which makes it a serious concern.

MK/29/9/18

By Mohamed Kabba

Monday October 01, 2018.

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