The continent prepares to celebrate the World Rabies day despite lack of awareness on the illness that is transmitted by infected animals through scratches or bites.
The zoonotic disease unit records at least 2000 deaths caused by Rabies in Kenya alone every year.
World Rabies Day is celebrated annually to create awareness on rabies prevention while highlighting progress in curbing the infections. 28th September was set aside as World Rabies day to commemorate the death of Louis Pasteur, a French chemist and Microbiologist, who developed the first rabies vaccine.
There are safe and efficacious animal and human vaccines to stop human deaths from rabies but lack of awareness hinders effective rabies vaccination.
A majority of Kenyans are not aware that not just dogs but cats and donkeys too can transmit rabies and there is need to get vaccinated if exposed to these animals and also have the animals vaccinated regularly.
Lack of awareness has on numerous occasions been attributed to a shortage of resources dimming the hope of penetrating the masses.
This year’s theme is, “Share the message, save a life,” clearly revealing the dire need to create public awareness.
The ministry of health reports that rabies causes 60,000 deaths in the World every year which is translated to mean that every 10 minutes one person dies of rabies. The death toll is higher in developing countries especially the rural areas where awareness is lacking greatly and slum areas where stray dogs are in large numbers.
Siaya, Homa Bay, Kisumu, Kitui, Machakos and Makueni are the most exposed to rabies and were covered during 2014 vaccination drive with a target of over 70 percent population of dogs as they transmit more than 98 percent of rabies.
As the world prepares to mark the World Rabies day, it is important to get your cats, dogs, and donkeys vaccinated to ensure the safety of all that come across the animals.