By Sharon Atieno
As the world marked Rabies Day earlier this week, mass dog vaccination has been lauded to be the best option for the elimination of this disease.
Rabies, which affects animals, can be transmitted to humans through contact with the saliva of infected animals, most commonly as a result of dog-bite injury.
In Kenya, 73,000 dog bites are recorded every year, which results in huge economic losses considering that direct medical costs alone amount up to approximately USD 75 for post-bite treatment. However, the cost of vaccinating dogs to prevent transmission to humans is much cheaper.
During the launch of a new report to commemorate the Day, Dr. Emily Mudoga, Animals in Communities Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection (WAP) said, “Without swift treatment, this disease is fatal, yet unlike many diseases, is preventable with the right course of action. Killing dogs does not stop the disease, mass dog vaccination is the only proven solution.”
The WAP report ‘All Eyes on Dogs’, provides the first trajectory with actions needed to eliminate dog mediated rabies by 2030.
The report demonstrates how humane rabies control can contribute to One Health implementation and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Though recommending canine vaccination, the organization says that this should be done in tandem with educational campaigns that focuses on basic rabies knowledge, responsible dog ownership, bite prevention and animal welfare.
World Rabies Day marked on 28th September is a global health observance marked to raise awareness about rabies and bring together partners to enhance prevention and control efforts worldwide.