——–Suspected rabies has broken out in Chinsali district of Muchinga Province and one life has since been lost to the suspected disease.
This has been confirmed by Provincial Veterinary Officer (PVO) for Muchinga, Kabwe Puta, in an interview with ZANIS today.
Dr Puta said recently three people were reported bitten by stray dogs in Kaluyapusa area while another boy was bitten in Mulilansolo area and has since died.
He said in the past two months over 105 people have been bitten by stray dogs, adding 25 dogs out of the 105 are individually owned.
Dr Puta said 15 dog bites have also been reported in Chinsali town.
The PVO attributed the increase in dog bites in these areas to people keeping more than two dogs per household which he said is against the law.
He explained that most of these dogs are not vaccinated, adding that the owners of the dogs fail to take them for vaccination despite using them for hunting purposes.
He said the Veterinary Department in the province has put up measures to control the disease, adding that 350 doses of vaccines have been procured.
Dr Puta, however, lamented that the department only managed to purchase 350 doses of vaccines against a population 11 000 due to inadequate resources.
He explained that this means that about 10 000 dogs will not be vaccinated thereby posing a great danger to people.
Dr Puta explained the department has also written and submitted a budget to the headquarters in Lusaka and is awaiting response.
He added that the department has engaged other stakeholders such as the Ministry of Health, Police and the Council to help with other logics for the awareness campaign which is currently underway.
The PVO cautioned Chinsali residents to reduce the number of dogs per household and ensure that every dog is vaccinated in order to supplement on government’s efforts.
Dr Puta pointed out that it is more expensive to treat rabies in a human being than to vaccinate a dog, adding that anti-rabies for people cost about K400 to be used in a single patient while the vaccines for dogs only costs K40 per 10 dogs.