Kalabo vet department takes measures against rabid dogs
By Staff Reporter
Department of Veterinary Services in Kalabo district has submitted a specimen head of a suspected rabid dog to the Central Veterinary Research Institute in Lusaka for diagnosis of rabies.
District Veterinary Officer Silwendo Sitwala disclosed the development when he briefed the District Rapid Response Team (DRRT) during an emergency meeting held at Kalabo District Health Resource Centre.
Dr Sitwala explained that the dog in question ran amok terrorizing Kalabo Township where it caused severe injuries and deaths to several dogs.
“Some of the injured dogs are on observation while being attended to by the Department of Veterinary Services. A puppy sustained a complete fracture of the lower jaw which has since been repaired. Its condition is so far stable and on the course of recovery,” he said.
The veterinary surgeon said a combined team of uniformed officers tracked the suspected rabid dog along Kankolola stream south of the township where it was killed and its head cut off, preserved and later submitted to Western Province regional veterinary laboratory for onward delivery to Lusaka.
He disclosed that within the past month, a total of 15 human dog bites were reported to his office and that all the affected people had been referred to health facilities for medical attention.
“Within the same period, a total of 83 dogs were vaccinated. Actions taken include rabies awareness creation and sensitization, vaccination of dogs in Yuka and Kalabo townships, mobilization of rounds of ammunition (for dog cropping) with the courtesy of African Parks,” he said.
Dr Sitwala however said not a single case of rabies has been confirmed in the district adding that no human death has also been recorded.
He called for concerted efforts aimed at eliminating human deaths from dog-transmitted rabies by 2030 by ensuring that those bitten access appropriate medical care through Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).
He added that rabies in humans can also be eliminated through adequate vaccination, control of pets and educating those at risk of contracting the deadly disease, saying prevention is better and cheaper than cure.
Dr Sitwala has since appealed to all stakeholders and communities at large to comply with the measures being undertaken against rabies in line with the Control of Dogs Act CAP 247 of the Laws of Zambia.
Meanwhile, Kalabo District Public Health Officer Maimpa Mumba lamented that the high number of stray dogs in Kalabo was posing danger to public health and that human dog bites were being recorded at a high rate.
Mumba, who is also Public Health Association of Zambia (PHAZ) president, has since implored all stakeholders to join hands and put in place routine and vigorous dog cropping exercises.
Kalabo district has a population of about 11, 000 dogs most of which are not vaccinated against rabies.