Rabies Day: Association Urges State Govt. To Deploy Veterinarians To LGAs

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The Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association, NVMA, Oyo State chapter has appealed to the state government to employ and deploy more veterinary doctors to Local Government Area.

The Chairman of the Oyo State chapter of the association, Dr Dayo Adejuyigbe,
made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria ,NAN, on Thursday in Ibadan as the world mark the annual Sept. 28 Rabies Day.

Rabies is a rare but very serious infection of the brain and nerves, usually caught from the bite or scratch of an infected animal, most often a dog.

The theme for 2017 World Rabies Day is “Rabies: Zero 30”.

The day is the first and only global day of action and awareness for rabies prevention as declared by World Health Organisation.

Adejuyigbe, who said only 16 veterinary doctors rendered services to the 33 local government areas of Oyo State, stressed that the number was highly inadequate.

He added that each of the 33 local governments needed at least two veterinary doctors, noting, however, that local councils were not empowered by law to employ staff above grade level 06 in the state.

He attributed the rising cases of rabies and other animal diseases in the state, especially in rural areas, to the lack of attention to vaccination exercises, stressing that there should be yearly inoculation of animals.

He said “I want to call on government to pay attention to animals’ vaccination to check diseases.

“Vaccine for rabies and other animal diseases are, however, very expensive. No hospital can afford to purchase and give the vaccines.

“The procurement of such vaccines is the sole responsibility of Federal Government, through recognised designated agencies.

“We want to note with high concern, the rising cases of animal diseases, especially in rural areas because of the absence of yearly vaccination of animals.”

In his contributions, Dr Usman Shittu, another veterinary doctor, told NAN that rabies was a life-threatening condition that caused thousands of deaths worldwide every year.

Shittu said although wild and domesticated animals could spread the virus, dogs were the commonest source of rabies because many people used them as pets and for security purposes.

According to him, rabies is caused by virus that attacks the central nervous system and can be transmitted to humans via bites and scratches from infected animals.

He added that “the period between the bite and the onset of symptoms is called incubation period, which usually takes four to 12 weeks to develop, though the period vary.

“The initial onset of rabies begins with flu-like symptoms, including fever, muscle weakness, tingling and burning at the site of the bite.

“As the virus continues to attack the central nervous system, there are two different types of the disease that can develop.

“The first is the “Furious Rabies” where infected people will be hyperactive and may display erratic behaviours.

“Other symptoms include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, excess salivation, problems swallowing and fear of water.

“The second type is the `paralytic rabies’. This form of rabies takes longer to set in, but the effects are just as severe as infected people slowly become paralysed and eventually slip into coma and die.

“According to World Health Organisation, 30 per cent of rabies cases are paralytic.” (NAN)