Authorities declare rabies outbreak in Sheema

Authorities declare rabies outbreak in Sheema
Authorities declare rabies outbreak in Sheema

Africa-Press – Uganda. The Sheema District veterinary department has confirmed an outbreak of rabies in the area.

Rabies is a contagious and fatal viral disease that attacks dogs and other mammals. It is transmitted through saliva and causes madness and convulsions.

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle spasms, paralysis, and mental illness.

The district veterinary officer, Mr Joseph Amanya, told the Monitor last week that they have registered several cases in Kasaana Sub-county.

“On July 26, a cow at Kitagata Farm institute in Kasaana died after developing signs of rabies. Its brain samples were sent to the National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Centre in Entebbe and results came out positive,” Mr Amanya said.

“We are carrying out vaccination of all animals and we hope to reduce the cases as soon as possible,” he said, adding if the disease is not handled early, it will spread to humans.

Mr Amanya said the district vaccinates dogs every financial year and last year, more than 6,000 dogs out of 8,000 were vaccinated .

“The best way is prevention and once the bite is done on both humans and animals there is a need to be vaccinated with anti-rabies vaccine. Signs can be shown after three weeks and can cause death after a month,” he said.

Mr David Mugabo, the farm manager Kitagata Farm Institute, said they are monitoring other animals and as humans they are keeping a distance from the animals and allow only a person wearing protective gear to attend to the cows-

Mr Richard Turyahebwa, a resident of Sheema Municipality, said they are worried of stray dogs.

“Alhough we have tried to vaccinate our dogs, there has been rampant movement of stray dogs during this dry spell, we are now living in fear, especially for our children,” Mr Turyahebwa said.

Ms Annet Korugyendo, a resident of Kasaana, said affected dogs infected two cows and two goats which have since died.

“We request those with dogs to vaccinate them ,” Ms Korugyendo said.

According to the World Health Organisation, 59,000 people die of rabies in more than 150 countries annually, with 95 per cent of the cases being in Africa and Asia.

Rabies is a vaccine-preventable, zoonotic, viral disease. In up to 99 per cent of cases, domestic dogs are responsible for rabies virus transmission to humans.

On high alert

Kyabigo, Kigaba I & II villages in Kasaana Sub-county, and Buraro, Omurusindura, and Rubaare I & II in Kitagata Sub-county have been put on high alert following the outbreak.

This is not the first time rabies has hit the district. In 2019, Nyakarama and Kasaana parishes in Rugarama and Kasaana sub-counties were affected.

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