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Health News of Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Source: ghananewsagency.org

Public urged to report animal bite cases

The public has been advised to report animal bite cases, especially dog bites, to the Ghana Veterinary Services (GVS) to avoid the risk of contracting rabies infection.

Dr Kwadwo Obeng-Wiredu, GVS Deputy Director for the Greater Accra Metropolitan Assembly, who gave the advice, said late diagnosis of rabies infection most often leads to fatalities.

“It is important to report immediately GVS the moment you are bitten. Do not wait till signs of the disease begin to show,” he told the Ghana News Agency in Accra.

Dr Obeng-Wiredu, who is also in charge of the La Dadekotopon Municipal Assembly, said the moment a person got bitten, the wound, should immediately be washed with a disinfectant and a report made to the vet office.

He said the dog or animal that bit the person should not be killed, but rather be sent to the veterinary in order for it to be examined for rabies.

“If you bring the animal and we detect it does not have rabies, that would save you the trouble of going through anti-rabies treatment,” he said.

Dr Obeng-Wiredu said in cases where the dog or animal is killed, the bite victim is treated for rabies, because it was assumed the animal may have had rabies.

He advised people who handle animals that could bite, especially dogs, veterinarians and dog trainers to be careful as they expose themselves to dogs.

He stressed that the fact that a dog had been vaccinated against rabies does not mean it was certainly free of the virus.

Dr Obeng-Wiredu said it was necessary for such animal handlers to have preventive treatment “prophylactic treatment,” to protect themselves.

He said it is important for dog owners, as well as owners of animals such as cats and monkeys, to vaccinate their animals against rabies punctually and also prevent their pets from straying as this increases their chances of getting bitten by infected animals.

Dr Obeng-Wiredu said it was unfortunate that the annual mass anti-rabies vaccination of house-hold pets has been brought to a hold since 1998, because of some challenges.