MOUAU holds anti rabies campaign, alerts Nigerians of the risk
Students of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, last week, took the streets in anti Rabies Awareness Campaign, to enlighten people of the risk of living with the deathly disease.
Dr. Okezie Chimezie, a consultant physician with the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia, Abia State, has raised alert that about 10,000 Nigerians are at risk of contacting the disease annually, adding that in 2012, there were 25 suspected rabid dog bites in FMC. Chimezie said this, in a three-day lecture titled, “Emerging And Re-emerging Zoonoses,” held in the school.
The event featured road walk, free vaccination of dogs in five MOUAU host communities, using the 200 vaccines donated by Trustlink Guards & Dogs Institute, a subsidiary of Trustlink Ventures (Nig.) Ltd.
According to him, the infection occurs through the bite of an infected animal, as the virus is present in the saliva. Transmission may occur following a penetrating scratch by an infected animal with bleeding or licking of broken skin and mucosa. Other ways, he noted is aerosol (respiratory) transmission, person-to-person transmission via the bite of an infected human, corneal and organ transplant.
Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine, Prof. Maxwell Ezeja, said rabies is a viral disease of warm blooded animals, which occurs in more than 150 countries and causes 55,000 human deaths annually with 99 per cent of such deaths occurring in Africa and Asia, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO ).
Declaring the campaign open, the VC, Prof. Francis Otunta, said: “Each time clinical signs of rabies appear, the sufferer, whether animal or man, almost always dies.”