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Rabies outbreak: One dead, three admitted, livestock infected

By Davis Buyondo

Added 6th March 2019 10:26 AM

Cases of human and animals attacked by dogs are rising in Lyantonde town council, Kansagama, Lyakajura and Kinuuka sub-counties.

 Rabies outbreak: One dead, three admitted, livestock infected

Cases of human and animals attacked by dogs are rising in Lyantonde town council, Kansagama, Lyakajura and Kinuuka sub-counties.

RABIES OUTBREAK

LYANTONDE-Health authorities in Lyantonde are in rapid response operation to contain the widespread rabies outbreak in the district.

Cases of human and animals attacked by dogs are rising in Lyantonde town council, Kansagama, Lyakajura and Kinuuka sub-counties.

World Health Organisation (WHO) defines rabies as an infectious viral disease that is almost fatal upon the onset of clinical symptoms.

So far one minor only identified as Turyasingura, 9, of Kalagala village in Lyantonde town council, succumbed to rabies on Sunday (24/02/2019).

Suspected rabid dogs attacked him on his way to the shop. Unfortunately he passed on a few days ago despite the rabies treatment.

Other survivors namely Evra Akampulira, 9, and a 10-year-old girl of Kanyogoga village, Kagara Parish, Kasagama sub-county were rushed to Lyantonde Hospital in critical condition. But doctors said they are steadily recuperating.

 confirmed the outbreak saying it was first reported in late anuary this year 
 
Ronald Bameka, the Lyantonde  District Veterinary Officer confirmed the outbreak saying it was first reported in late January this year (Photo by Davis Buyondo)

 

Dr. Ronald Bameka, the District Veterinary Officer (DVO) confirmed the outbreak saying it was first reported in late January this year and intensified in February.

According to Bameka, over 200 stray dogs are suspected to be infected while 16 goats and three heads of cattle have been reported to have signs of the strain.

In a letter dated February 26, 2019, the veterinary department seeks assistance from the Permanent Secretary and the Commissioner Livestock Health and Entomology in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal, Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF).

They are looking at eliminating stray dogs in the  meantime and later embark on a sensitisation and vaccination programme before the situation runs out of hand.

According to Bameka, in the 2018 census, Lyantonde had 7,500 domestic dogs while the stray dogs were estimated to double the number.

"Apparently we cannot tell how many dogs strayed away from their homes since most of their owners do not care to cage or feed them, forcing them to leave home to look for food hence joining or forming packs," he noted.

Bameka further highlighted that a rabid dog will behave in an unusual manner from the time of infection.

It will first be dull without appetite and then gradually become very angry at anything. Then, he added, it will salivate, bark constantly and bite almost everything including wood.

Way Forward

Dr. Moses Nkanika, the District Health Officer (DHO), said the outbreak has caused panic among residents. He added that it is mainly cause by unvaccinated domestic and stray dogs.

He added that that they have appealed for funding to embark on a massive vaccination programme for dogs and cats and kill stray dogs.

He further advised that all infected goats and cows be killed and buried or burnt. Likewise, he cautioned owners of infected livestock animals to avoid eating or distributing infected meat since it may spread the strain hence death.

Nkanika added that they held a crisis meeting on Wednesday with the veterinary officer, surveillance officer and

other departments to chat a way forward to ending the problem.

He explained that the several cases may be happening but few reported yet delayed treatment may lead to death.

"The anti-rabies treatment is available but dog-bite victims who delay eventually die. People should worry and be cautious about rabies as it is with HIV/AIDS and accidents. They should report cases and rush victims to hospital immediately," he said.

Affected residents

Residents in the affected communities claim that children are the most vulnerable since they are too weak to defend themselves.

Posiano Mweigye, whose son Turyasingura died of rabies said they informed Kalagala local authorities about the dog problem but little was done not until his son was attacked.

Richard Turyatemba of Kanyogoga village whose son Akampulira was attacked said that his son is improving due to the available rabies treatment.

He added that he has so far hunted and killed three stray dogs adding that the district operations to eliminate them will find some work done.

In December last year, a pack of rabid dogs attacked George Sseremba, the Kijjampiki LC1 chairperson, in Kibinge sub-county, Bukomansimbi district. He later succumbed to rabies. Also five dogs, seven goats, two sheep and two cows were reported infected.

Dr. Sylvia Angubau Baluka, the President- Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA), maintains that rabies has been neglected yet it is a serious pandemic in Uganda and the world over.

She appealed to victims of dogs and fox attacks to go to regional hospitals for rabies vaccines.

WHO estimates there are 55,000 rabies deaths every year in the world while the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, estimates a total of 70,000 deaths with 10 million treated for bites from potentially infected dogs.

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