By Maimuna Sey-Jawo
The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammed Lamin Jaiteh, has said the available data from the health management information system indicates that the number of dog bites registered in the country between January to September 2017 is 567.
PS Jaiteh made this revelation recently during a symposium and commemoration marking World Rabies Day organised by the Department of Livestock Service [DLS] in collaboration with partners at the DLS office in Abuko.
The theme of this year is Rabies; share the message. Save a life.
The ceremony also witnessed the vaccination of some dogs in order to reduce the disease in the country. DLS officials are optimistic that similar vaccinations will be conducted countrywide.
According to Jaiteh available data indicates that rabies kill 1 person every 10 minutes globally and 95 percent of rabies cases are from a bite of a rabies infected dog, thus he said the disease is 100 percent preventable through vaccination of up to 70 percent or more of the dog population in a country or a community.
The Director General of the Department of livestock Service Dr. Abdou Ceesay said 28th September has been set aside to reflect on a very important zoonotic disease, very important because of its social implication as a major human killer and as a major animal health and welfare issue.
He recalled that world Rabies Day was set aside in 2007 to raise global awareness about the disease by providing information on how to prevent it.
Dr. Ceesay went on to say the disease can be transmitted from animal to humans with a case-fatality rate of almost 100 percent in both humans and animals.
“Rabies is 100 percent preventable with the available tools and proven approaches,” he said, adding that dog vaccination is the most cost effective single intervention to protect humans from rabies as only 10 percent of the cost of PEP will cover rabies elimination in dogs.
In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary 1 at the Ministry of Agriculture Musa Houma said the celebration is an opportunity to sensitize Gambians about the importance of rabies as a zoonotic disease.