Veterinary Doctors Call For Elimination Of Rabies

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Veterinary doctors, under the auspices of the Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association, have called on stakeholders to collaborate with the association to eliminate rabies.

The association, which described rabies as a killer and infectious virus that was usually spread through animals, especially domestic animals, said it had stepped up efforts at eradicating the virus by 2030, in line with the commitment of the World Health Organisation.

The Chairman of the association in Ondo State, Prof Isaac Adebayo, stated that the association had embarked on community awareness campaign on the menace of the disease, saying this would, in no small measure, educate Nigerians about the killer disease.

He stated this at the commemoration of this year’s World Rabies Day in Akure, with the theme, ‘Vaccinate to Eliminate.’

According to him, domestic dogs are responsible for 99 per cent of rabies virus transmission to humans, while cats, bats and some other canines – which were also carriers of the virus – accounted for one per cent.

He said , “Following a bite by an infected dog or cat, the time it takes the disease to set in or manifest depends on a number of factors such as closeness of the bite site to the brain or major nerve centre and the size/dose of the viral load in the saliva of the infected animal.

“These factors make the incubation period of the disease to be variable in length. However, abnormal behaviours such as photophobia (running away from light), hydrophobia (being afraid of water), musculoskeletal pain, anxiety, agitation, dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), hyper-salivation or excessive salivation, paralysis, and delirium are experienced by the victims. The disease may make a friendly dog become hostile and aggressive in the face of no provocation.

“To ensure that rabies does not become an insurmountable public health threat, all hands must be on deck to see that the menace of rabies is completely eliminated in Nigeria between now and year 2030.”

The Ondo State Government, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Gboyega Adefarati, said the government had been supporting the NVMA in the state towards achieving its goal.

“This government, under the leadership of Rotimi Akeredolu, has  left no stone unturned to see that veterinarians in the civil service are doing fine. The government approved the engagement of veterinary doctor corps members with professional allowances at per with that of their colleagues in the Ondo State Hospital Management Board,” the commissioner said. (Medicalworldnigeria)

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