Wednesday 27 September 2023

Rabies Day: FG to embark on mass anti-rabies vaccination 

Federal  Government has said it is organising mass vaccination of dogs and humans at-risk of rabies.

It added Cross River, Plateau, Kano and Borno states have been earmarked for community engagement in celebration of World Rabies Day.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, spoke at a news conference to mark the day in Abuja.

World Rabies Day is held annually on September 28.

Rabies is a fatal, zoonotic, prioritised and notifiable disease transmitted between animals and humans. Its occurrence is world wide and it can kill 100 per cent of unvaccinated victims but preventable. 

Kyari said the Federal Government continues to procure anti-rabies for animals as well as doses of human  pre-and-post-exposure vaccines for high risk persons; animal health workers, hunters and those exposed through bite of infected animals.

He said government in 2022 launched a five-year National Strategic Plan (NSP) for elimination of dog-mediated human rabies in line with the global initiative to end dog-mediated human rabies by 2030.

Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Mohammad Pate, represented by Minister of State for Health, Dr Tunji Alausa, lamented rabies is a neglected tropical disease  with adverse effect. 

He noted the virus spreads through saliva of infected animal by biting or scratching another animal or human.

“It is estimated rabies is responsible for 59,000 human deaths every year with people living in poor, rural communities in Africa and Asia. One person dies of rabies every nine minute according to Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC). In humans the exact burden  is not known because mapping is yet to be conducted”.

On availability, he said the ministry has been supplying anti-rabies vaccines from 2021 to 2023 where approximately 900 doses of vaccines have been distributed to 14 high burden states to be administered free.

Minister of State for Environment, Dr Iziaq Salako, said stray dogs were main sources of infection as they interact with one another, with an exposure window for transmission from an infected dog.

He called for efforts by agencies, stakeholders and the public to ensure proper waste management in communities to ensure stray animals and pets, including dogs owners are identified, sensitised and registered.

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