Dr. Edward Danso Fenteng, an Epidemiologist in-charge of public health at the Brong-Ahafo Regional Veterinary Office, has disclosed that the Region in 2015 recorded 15 cases of rabies with two deaths in the Tain District.
He told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Tuesday in an interview in Sunyani that two cases had also been seen and treated by medics in January this year and called for the timely vaccination of all domestic pets every year to forestall disease outbreak.
Rabies is an infectious viral disease that is transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected dog and cats. It can be fatal if medical intervention is not accessed immediately.
Dr. Fenteng advised whoever would be bitten by such domestic animals to wash the affected part thoroughly with soap and running water to control the initial effect and quickly visit the nearest hospital for treatment.
The veterinary epidemiologist said rabid dogs often died 14 days after biting victims and therefore urged the general public to report cases of dog/cat bites and any strange or aggressive behavior of domestic animals to the nearest veterinary office for their immediate arrest and detention to facilitate observation for the period.
“After 14 days, if such a dog did not die, it must be observed for another seven days before it could be freed, the bodies of those which died needed to be handled professionally in order not to spread infections”, he added.
Dr. Fenteng advised individuals and families who kept dogs and cats as pets to immunize them to avoid rabies infections.
The public health expert appealed to local government authorities to ensure the effective implementation of by-laws against strayed domestic animals particularly dogs and cats as they posed danger to the health and safety of the people.
He opined that stray animals must be caught and either be confined and their owners made to pay heavy fines or be culled to minimize the number of rabies-infected animals which had the potential to transmit the virus to other animals and humans within the shortest possible time through biting.