Rabies outbreak claims four lives in Mazabuka


Suspected rabies has broken out in Mazabuka district claiming a total of four lives within a period of two months.

Meanwhile, health authorities in the district have assured that measures have been put in place to control the spread of the disease.

Mazabuka District during its full council meeting held on Tuesday learnt that four people have so far died from rabies a deadly disease resulting from infected dogs that bite people.

The deaths include that of Jackson Muleya aged 19 who died at Mazabuka District Hospital over the weekend after he was bitten by a dog in Kabbobola compound.

Mazabuka Central Member of Parliament Garry Nkombo revealed that his office has of late received numerous complaints from residents in Mazabuka Township over the outbreak of rabies in the area.

Mr Nkombo took to task the Acting District Medical Officer Mulengula Mushabati over the alleged failure by the hospital staff to quickly administer treatment to rabies patients.

Mr Nkombo alleged that medical officers were taking pride in seeing people dying saying it was not justifiable for the hospital to record four deaths from the disease within such a short time saying such deaths could have been avoided if treatment towards the patients was given priority.

He castigated the health officials for treating the outbreak of rabies with soft gloves saying it is unfortunate that the officials in the area have decided to give a deaf ear to the cries of the community over the seriousness of the disease.

But Mr Mushabati in his response to the allegations said the ministry of health in the district was only aware of the death of Muleya which was as a result of lather absence of the vaccine doses at the time the deceased was bitten.

Mr Mushabati said his office was aware of the suspected disease outbreak adding that15 cases of dog bite victims have been reported from various health centres within Mazabuka Township and are being treated at the district hospital in isolation wards.

He said his office has put up a team that is following victims of dog bites to their homes to enable them receive treatment because of the tendency by some people not to seek medical attention at the hospital once they have bitten by dogs.

Mr Mushabati added that his office has since recommended to the provincial office for the supply of more rabies vaccine adding that there was also need for partners such as the Zambia Police and the veterinary department in the area to get involved in order to wipe out the disease.

He said the department of Veterinary and should engage the Police in making sure that stray dogs and those without vaccination papers are shot in order to avoid them from biting people.

And officials from Veterinary disclosed that there has been an overwhelming response from members of the public of late who are taking their dogs to Veterinary offices in order to have them vaccinated against rabies.