Ebonyi state recorded eight cases of rabies between January and September, the Commissioner for Health, Ebonyi State, Dr Daniel Umezurike said this on Wednesday.
Umezurike gave the figure during Ebonyi Dog-Mediated Human Rabies Control Programme, an event to mark this year’s World Rabies Day.
The 2022 edition of the event was organised by the state Ministry of Agricultural and Natural Resources in collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Environment as well as Grant and Donor Agencies.
Umezurike stated that five human contacts were listed, vaccinated and currently under surveillance. The commissioner described rabies as a viral infection spread via saliva, through a bite of a rabies infected animal in direct contact with human fresh skin wounds.
He explained that a furious rabies case would be hyperactive and might display erratic behaviour with symptoms of insomnia, excess salivation problem in swallowing, as well as other symptoms which might take long to set in.
He added that collaboration was a key strategy for prevention, as a dog as well as human prevention vaccines and public awareness, would prevent the disease.
“Prevention of rabies can be done by eliminating rabies in dogs through vaccination which is the most cost effective strategy for prevention in people. Dog vaccination reduces deaths attributed to dog mediated rabies.”
He urged residents in the state to remain calm, go about their businesses, avoid self-medication and reports suspected cases to health authorities.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Prof. Humphery Nwobashi, corroborated the figure given by his health counterpart and said that all the cases had both human and animal contacts. He stressed the need for concerned authorities to come together under one health to mitigate the risk of rabies in both humans and animals.
According to him, practices such as mass animal vaccination, vaccination of people who have contact with rabid animals and control of stray dogs would mitigate the risk.
He said that the ministry was prepared to collaborate with the mission of one-health, zero deaths by eliminating dog medicated rabies.
On his part, the Commissioner for Environmental, Dr Richard Nnabu, cautioned owners of stray dogs to tame them as measures would be taken to prosecute such people.
The State Coordinator, World Health Organisation, Dr Vivian Ibeziako, described the theme of the event as critical to the organisation. She urged such agencies and partners to strengthen collaborations in animal health and other key programmes for good healthcare of society. She gave the assurance of the support and collaboration of the organisation to prevent rabies infections in the state.
Similarly, the Director of Ebonyi Veterinary Services in the ministry of agriculture, Dr Ephraim Nwanga, emphasized the need for reporting cases and teamwork for better results. The event featured the demonstration of pre-exposure prophylaxis of human anti-rabies vaccine on veterinary officers by the commissioner for health.