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Rabies and how to control it.

By Grace Chomba

A dog with a rabies symptom, excess salivation.

Rabies is one of the zoonotic diseases that are transferred from animals to humans. The contagious virus that is transmitted by all mammals.

Speaking to the Standard Digital, Dr Paul Kang’ethe said body fluids of the infected animals can also transmit the incurable disease. 

“Rabies is a deadly virus that is transmitted through bites by infected animals. It is spread to a human being if one comes into contact with the infected animal's body fluid be it saliva or urine,” Dr Paul Kang’ethe said.

He added, “It is a common epidemic in Kenya that mainly affects dogs, cats, donkeys, and horses. You should identify and isolate the infected animals to avoid the spread of the virus.”

Dr Kang’éthe also noted that there are rare cases of the disease among the humans in Kenya.

Symptoms

The first symptoms can be very similar to a flu that lasts for days. Later signs may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, agitation, anxiety, confusion, hyperactivity, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, hallucinations, insomnia, partial paralysis and fear of water. Sometimes the animals are unable to close their mouth since the virus affects the neural system.

Control & Preventive measures

The spread of disease can be contained through proper vaccination and proper maintenance and management of your animals.

Vaccination

Cats and dogs can be vaccinated against the virus annually.

“Keep the vaccination records in case your dog bites someone, you can present the record to the hospital so that the person can be treated accordingly,” said the doctor adding animals’ vaccine schedule should be kept up to date.

Farmers should also ensure puppies and kittens receive their first rabies vaccine at three months old and later in one year.

If travelling to a place where the disease is common, kindly consider a rabies vaccine.

“Anyone interacting with dogs from dog walkers, dog owners, and veterinary officers should be vaccinated,” he said.

Pets

Dr Kang’éthe also noted that any stray animals should be reported to local authorities since they are at a high risk of exposure to wild animals that carry the virus.   

Protect your pets from predators. Keep rabbits and other small pets like a guinea, pigs in protected cages since they cannot be vaccinated against the virus. Supervise your pets when outside to prevent them from coming into contact with wild animals. 

Feed the animals indoors to avoid stray animals coming to your compound. Ensure the trash lids are locked and don’t leave garbage bags outside the can.

Wild animals

Avoid friendly wild animals. Wild animals are naturally unfriendly and afraid of human beings. Don’t approach animals that seem unafraid. 

Keep bats out of your home by sealing any cracks and gaps that they can use to enter your home.

 

 

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