11 000 dogs targeted for rabies vaccination
THE Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) has begun a week-long vaccination exercise of dogs against rabies targeting 11 000 dogs in and around Bulawayo.
The vaccination exercise coincides with the commemoration of the life of Louis Pasteur who developed the rabies vaccine in 1885. Pasteur died on September 28, 1895. Matabeleland North provincial veterinary officer Dr Polex Moyo said the week-long exercise commemorates the life of Pasteur whose vaccine is still being used today.
“The vaccination exercise began today in and around Bulawayo. It’s a week-long exercise where we are targeting all dogs in the city.
‘‘We are encouraging residents to take their dogs to the advertised places for vaccination,” said Dr Moyo.
He said although he does not have the exact population of dogs in the city, annually they target between 10 000 to 11 000 dogs.
“In this region, Bulawayo has been declared a rabies area meaning it has the highest number of confirmed rabies cases,” said Dr Moyo.
He said dog owners must bring a dollar to get their dogs vaccinated.
Rabies is a highly fatal viral infection of the nervous system that affects all warm-blooded animal species including humans. In Zimbabwe, the natural reservoir is the jackal. When the virus is transmitted to domesticated carnivores such as dogs and cats, a cycle of transmission begins among domesticated carnivores endangering people.
Once the symptoms of rabies develop in animals or humans, there is no cure and the disease is fatal. Rabies kills 50 000 people worldwide every year.
The Bulawayo city council has shot 250 stray dogs to curb the spread of rabies in the city. — @AuxiliaK