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20,000 dogs in Laikipia to Get Rabies Jab

Laikipia County Government has commenced a mass vaccination exercise for dogs and cats against rabies that is common in the area.

County Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Peter Mwai, said the exercise, that targets 20,000 dogs and cats, commenced last week and will run for eight weeks while targeting all the risky areas.

“We expect that this exercise will bring us, as a County, closer to eradicating rabies completely out of Laikipia,” Dr. Mwai said.

He added that his Department would be upscaling mass dog vaccination by bringing on board more collaborators and players. The County has partnered with Mpala Research Centre in the exercise.

“We are also ensuring that there is a prompt provision of Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) in all our health facilities,”.

Other interventions the County has put in place towards the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies include, enhancing surveillance for rabies in humans and animals, upscaling of public health education and awareness of the disease, and advocacy, communication, and social mobilization.

“We have also enhanced collaboration between County Medical Health Services and veterinary services in rabies control through strengthening the health approach, meaning that health facilities should always treat bite patients with information from the veterinary sector,” Dr. Mwai added.

A similar vaccination campaign carried out last year saw 13,000 dogs and cats vaccinated.

According to the World Health Organization, about 2,000 people die of rabies in Kenya every year. Children under the age of 15 years and communities in remote rural areas are at the highest risk.

The disease is transmitted through the saliva of infected mammals, usually through a bite.

Once contracted, it is fatal in humans almost 100 percent of the time. In up to 99 percent of cases, domestic dogs are responsible for rabies virus transmission to humans.

Rabies is one of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) that predominantly affects poor and vulnerable populations who live in remote and rural locations. Approximately 80 percent of human cases occur in rural areas.

By Martin Munyi

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