Sunyani, June 12, GNA – Two people died from a rabies outbreak in the Asunafo North and Asunafo South Districts in the Brong Ahafo Region between February and April this year.
Dr Kenneth Gbeddy, Brong Ahafo Regional Director of Veterinary Service in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Sunyani on Wednesday said the two, a man and a woman were the victims, but did not disclose their districts.
He said veterinary officers were undertaking vaccination exercises to bring the situation under control, adding that, last year, two people also died from rabies in the Tano North District and Tano South District of the Region.
Dr Gbeddy pointed out that the Service was concerned about the rabies outbreak because it could infect all mammals, including dogs, cats, horses and cattle when they come in contact with infected wildlife.
He appealed to the general public to ensure their pets especially dogs and cats were vaccinated annually against the disease to avert any future occurrences.
The Regional Director of the Veterinary services advised people who are bitten by dogs or cats to rush to the nearest hospital for vaccination and careful examination to save their lives and explained that the two people died because they reported to the hospital late.
Dr Gbeddy said dogs and other animals suspected to have rabies should not be killed but must be chained by the owner for two weeks to be monitored because dogs infected with rabies would die 10 days after biting a person.
He said after the dog had died the person bitten should be vaccinated against rabies since any delay could cause the person’s life.
Dr Gbeddy stated that veterinary sponsored programmes by the Municipal and District Assemblies had stopped due to lack of funds and no longer undertaking surveillance or monitoring in the rural areas to vaccinate animals free of charge.
He pointed out that stray dogs in the communities were dangerous and should be captured and killed under the assemblies’ bye-laws, and noted that, people were dying because of non- enforcement of the bye-laws.
Dr Gbeddy mentioned aggressive dogs; dogs hiding in dark places, dogs that bite any animal on sight, dripping of saliva from the mouth and sudden change of barking were some of the signs of dogs infected with rabies.
He asked the general public to report such sudden changes in their dogs to the veterinary personnel to eliminate them from the communities since their presence was a threat to human life.
Dr Gbeddy noted that dogs and cats were human friends and needed to be cared for to make their stay in the communities comfortable.