Let’s fight rabies from our midst

Friday, September 30, 2016

A free rabies vaccination campaign has been launched by the Department of Livestock Services, in a fight to eradicate the disease from our midst in this country.

The campaign has been launched also in respect of World Rabies Day observed in The Gambia on Wednesday 28 September under the theme: “Educate, Vaccinate and Eliminate”.

This theme is more than appropriate; it is also really timely considering the effects of rabies to humankind around the world, mainly transmitted through rabid dog bites.

“Rabies kills estimated 70,000 people in the world, mostly children in the developing countries in which approximately 95%  of human cases are due to rabid dog bites, according to the world Organization for Animal Health (OIE),”  the deputy Agriculture minister has said.

Across the world 100 children die from rabies every day, according to Mission Rabies, an international institution dedicated to fighting and eradicating rabies around the world.

It said rabies is a global problem that leads to the suffering and premature deaths of thousands of people and dogs.

“In India alone, every 2 seconds someone is bitten by a dog and around 24 people a day suffer an excruciating death from rabies - over half of which are children.

“Post-bite immunisations cost the Indian economy over $25million a year, yet more people die of rabies in India than anywhere else in the world.”

This is a serious situation, which we in The Gambia cannot afford to contend with; hence we must do all it takes to eradicate rabies in our midst by first tackling the dogs in our communities.

Apart from those at homes, we have a lot of stray dogs in the communities we really need to take care of, to be able to prevent the spread of this disease in our society.

This is more so because rabies is transmitted from animals to humans and the main source of the disease in African countries is unvaccinated dogs.

We as a nation must be really serious about solving the menace of stray dogs in our society.

The following is a publication by www.healthline.com on the Rabies.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Rabies

The period between the bite and the onset of symptoms is called the incubation period. It usually takes four to 12 weeks for a person to develop rabies symptoms once they’re infected. However, incubation periods can also range from a few days to six years.

The initial onset of rabies begins with flu-like symptoms, including:

•           fever

•           muscle weakness

•           tingling

You may also feel burning at the bite site.

As the virus continues to attack the central nervous system, there are two different types of the disease that can develop.

Furious Rabies

Infected people who develop furious rabies will be hyperactive and excitable and may display erratic behavior. Other symptoms include:

•           insomnia

•           anxiety

•           confusion

•           agitation

•           hallucinations

•           excess salivation

•           problems swallowing

•           fear of water

Paralytic Rabies

This form of rabies takes longer to set in, but the effects are just as severe. Infected people slowly become paralyzed, will eventually slip into a coma, and die. According to the World Health Organization, 30 percent of rabies cases are paralytic.

“A dog that has rabies probably will do things it wouldn’t do if it didn’t have rabies. But that doesn’t change the fact that it has rabies”

John Malkovich