Rabies could be eradicated totally from the country, if 70 per cent of dogs and cats were vaccinated against the virus for three consecutive times within three years.
Dr Donald Joachim Darko, the Bono Regional Director of the Veterinary Service Department (VSD) said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Monday in Sunyani and entreated pet owners to loyally and patriotically cooperate for that to be achieved.
Speaking on the state of rabies in the region, Dr. Darko,who has oversight responsibility of the Ahafo Region expressed worry about the situation, saying out of 102,692 cats and 195,327 dogs in the region, only 2,740 were vaccinated in 2019.
He said that was not encouraging for the good of public health, explaining that it was low due to the poor attitude and treatment of pet owners of their pets.
Vaccinating a pet is less than GhC20.00 he said and urged pet owners to be much concern and patriotic to themselves, their households and entire communities by vaccinating their pets as and when required to prevent putting the lives of people at risk.
Dr. Darko stated that besides other associated expenses, vaccine treatment for victims of pet bites was about GhC450.00 and therefore advised pet owners to be responsible to avoid incurring more cost in such circumstances.
He said curbing of communities’ rabies outbreak cases was expensive since there has to be an emergency free rabies vaccination of all pets in the affected community and its environs to check further spread because rabies was a severe health issue that needed serious attention.
Dr Darko emphasized that about 99.9 per cent of persons affected by rabies through dog and cat bites or scratches could not survive, but died in worrisome conditions.
He said victims of dogs and cats bites could be saved from getting rabies if identified earlier and therefore advised health and medical professionals at health facilities to refer victims quickly to nearby veterinary clinics for further investigations and possible recommendation for immediate vaccination of victims against rabies to save them from contracting the virus.
Dr Darko entreated pet owners to observe their pets about sudden change of characters such as hiding in darkness, foaming in the mouth, running away from water and being aggressive and immediately report to the veterinary clinic for treatment.