The federal government yesterday urged dog owners to vaccinate their pets against rabies every year, as part of the efforts to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
Rabies, which is a deadly viral disease, can be transmitted to humans through infected dog bites. It can cause severe symptoms such as fever, headache, agitation, confusion, hallucinations, paralysis and even death. Although there’s no cure for rabies once symptoms appear, it can be prevented by vaccinating animals and humans.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nigeria accounts for about 10 percent of the global burden of human rabies deaths.
At a road show in Abuja to create awareness of the disease, director, veterinary public health, Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, ministry of agriculture and food security, Dr Samuel Anzaku urged residents to adopt preventative measures against rabies through annual human and dog vaccination.
The sensitisation programme is part of activities lined-up for this year’s World Rabies Day on September 28 under One Health Approach with the theme, “All for 1, One Health For All”.
Anzaku also advocated for the control of stray dogs which are one of the main sources of rabies transmission to humans.
“We are here on a road walk to sensitise people that they need to take preventive measures, one for them to vaccinate their dogs annually at veterinary clinics or hospitals. Secondly, to report any case of dog bite in any community, to the appropriate veterinary clinic.
If you don’t do this, once a human has a dog bite from an infected dog, and there’s no treatment, 100 percent you’re sure the person is going to die if clinical signs have started showing up.
So we’re here to tell Nigeria is a disease that is very deadly”, he said.
To ensure elimination of rabies, the WHO recommends that at least 70 per cent of the dog population should be vaccinated.