11 000 dogs tar­geted for ra­bies vac­ci­na­tion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Aux­ilia Ka­ton­go­mara

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

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