A Gwanda based medical expert has challenged communities to vaccinate their dogs to avoid the high cost of treating dog bites which averages USD224 per person.
Dr Amanda Thakataka, District Medical Officer for Gwanda district who did a dog bite analysis for Gwanda district 2014-2018 said vaccination costs approximately USD1 per dog.
Rabies is a vaccine-preventable viral disease which occurs in more than 150 countries with 95% of cases occurring in Africa and Asia. It is estimated to cause 59 000 human deaths annually.
“99% of rabies cases are dog-mediated. Approximately half of the cases attributable to children under 15,” said Dr Thakataka.
In Zimbabwe, rabies is mostly transmitted through dog bites. On average 150 animal cases of rabies are reported every year, though the condition is considered to be under-reported.
Dr Thakataka urged communities to participate in preventive measures which she said remained very low as evidenced by high number of dog bites from unvaccinated pets.
“Community participation in these preventive measures is low, as evidenced by the higher number of dog bites being from unvaccinated dogs or dogs with unknown vaccination status,” she said.