Dr Emmanuel Kwao Pecku, Tema Metropolitan Veterinary Officer, has called on residents of Tema, and its environs to take advantage of the local anti-rabies campaign to vaccinate their pets from 28 September to 7 October 2020.
Rabies is a zoonotic disease. That means the disease can be transmitted from animals to humans through a bite of an infected animal.
The Veterinary Services Unit in collaboration with Department of Agriculture and the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) is organizing the ‘anti-rabbies campaign’ to commemorate the World Rabies Day, on the theme: “End rabies, collaborate and vaccinate”.
Dr Pecku in an interview with the Ghana News Agency said they had targeted to vaccinate over 1000 dogs, cats and monkeys in Tema Metro, Tema West Municipality and Kpone-Katamanso Municipality within the period.
He said rabies had 100 per cent fatality rate, adding that to prevent such casualties, pet owners must vaccinate their animals disclosing that “over the years, the incidence of rabies cases is increasing within the enclave and the only way to prevent its spread is to vaccinate our pets”.
He said during the campaign, his office would vaccinate an animal at a subsidized fee of GHS10 at the Government Veterinary Clinic in Tema Community Seven, and some designated places including Oninku, Mante Din and Twedaase Primary School parks in Tema Community One, and others at Tema Newtown, Kpone and Tema West.
Dr Pecku urged pet owners not to downplay the effect of having a rabid animal at home, disclosing that five deaths had been recorded in Kasoa in the Central Region.
The Veterinary Unit in Tema, according to him, confirmed rabies cases in 109 dogs and five swine in 2017, while 160 were seen in dogs in 2018.
A total of 63 dog bite cases were recorded in the Tema Metropolis while 24 had so far been documented this year.
He urged persons who might be bitten by dogs and other animals to immediately wash the affected place with carbolic soap under running water for about 15 minutes and apply rubbing alcohol to reduce the load or number of virus contained in infected animal saliva from entering deep into the nerves and seek medical help.
He reminded hospitals and pharmacies to refer dog bite cases to the veterinaries in accordance with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendations, explaining that it was their duty to examine and study the dog for rabies diagnoses, and give medics the needed information on treating a victim.
He added that when found that the animal had rabies, the victim would receive a course of rabies vaccine, while those who might have been exposed to a rabid animal were expected to be administered with post-exposure prophylaxis.
Dr Pecku stressed that it was cheaper to vaccinate the animals against the rabies disease than to threat a person who might have been bitten by an infected animal or exposed to one.
It cost over GHS450 for a rabies treatment course, he said.