The Sekyere East District Health Directorate and the District Directorate of Veterinary Services Department have started a two-day exercise to vaccinate and quarantine all domestic pets in the Asokore and Effiduase twin township.
This follows the death of a five- year-old boy which is suspected to have been caused by a rabies infection.
The little boy is said to have died at the Effiduase Government Hospital after being bitten by an infected dog at Worampongso, in the Asante-Akim North District.
However, after investigations by health officials, it was detected that the owner of the dog which bit the boy bought it about six months ago at Asokore in the Sekyere East District.
The two-day exercise, in the two towns and Woramponso, is an immediate intervention to halt the spread of the contagion, Mr Justice Ofori Amoah, the District Health Director, told the Ghana News Agency.
‘‘This has necessitated the conduct of the dog-vaccination in the Woraponso community as well as serve as an immediate remedy to curtail the situation’’, he said.
The District Health Director urged dog owners to cooperate with officials engaged in the exercise to help facilitate the process.
Mr Amoah urged all domestic pet owners to make routine visits to the veterinary health centres not only for the vaccination of their pets, but to help prevent the spread of diseases.
He said the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) should do more in sensitizing the public about the rabies disease whiles also committing some of its annual budgets to pet vaccination to eliminate the disease which is a ‘‘public health threat’’.
Ms Irene Efua Acquah, the District Veterinary Officer, urged the public not to kill dogs suspected to be infected with rabies adding that this hinders investigations and proper laboratory examinations to ascertain details.
‘‘Blood samples of the supposed infected dogs have to be taken to the laboratory for examination. When it is killed, it becomes impossible to perform the necessary laboratory examinations to confirm the rabies disease’’, she said.
Ms Acquah called on the public to spontaneously wash affected areas of dog bites with fresh and clean water as a first aid and quickly report the affected person to the nearest hospital or health centre for prompt treatment, adding that any delay in reporting such cases to hospital, may be fatal.
Mr Godwin Ampatey Akuoko, the District Disease Control Technical Officer, said about 32 dogs have so far been vaccinated under the exercise and over 100 dogs in the area have been targeted to be vaccinated free of charge.
He called on the MMDAs to enact and enforce laws on rabies prevention in their various areas in order to eliminate the deadly disease across the country.