Nwoya, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Nwoya District Veterinary department will next week launch a mass vaccination exercise for pet dogs against rabies in the various sub-counties.
This follows the delivery of 4,000 doses of rabies vaccines by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries last week.
Nwoya District is endemic to rabies but hadn’t had mass vaccination against rabies, a viral disease of mammals usually transmitted through the bite of an infected animal for the last four years.
Dr. James Ukwir, Nwoya District Veterinary Officer told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that the vaccination drive comes at the backdrop of increasing cases of dog bites on humans.
Dr. Ukwir says between two to three cases of dog bites are reported from the communities every day, posing a great health risk since the district is endemic to rabies.
He notes that the vaccination drive will be of great health benefit for both pet dogs and humans in protecting them from rabies infection.
Dr. Ukwir called on locals in the district to embrace the rabies vaccination.
Francis Okello Oloya, the Manager, Comfort Dog Project and Education Program at the Big Fix Uganda says they vaccinated a total of 697 dogs last year in the sub-counties of Kochgoma, Koch Lii, Anaka, Purongo, and Alero.
Okello says they also vaccinated seven people last year in Kochgoma sub county who had been bitten by suspected rabid dogs. He notes that the area is a hotspot and witnessed an outbreak of the viral disease in 2016.
According to Okello, the organization has over the years been receiving at least three cases of deaths annually resulting from suspected rabid dog bites within the areas of Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya, and Omoro.
Over 90% of the rabies cases in the country are transmitted through domestic dog bites.
According to a 2021 report from the Uganda National Institute of Public Health, an average of 14,865 dog bites and 36 rabies deaths were registered annually from 2015 to 2020.
Globally canine rabies causes approximately 59,000 human deaths per year.