Two children died of rabies over the weekend in Igembe Central in Meru County after being bitten by stray dogs marauding in the three villages. Now I’m pretty sure that you’ve heard about Rabies, and if you haven’t then I can bet my money that you’ve heard of “mbwa ako na kichaa” because thats what the villagers call it.
Rabies is a fatal zoonotic disease, by that I mean you can get it from your dog, your neighbours dog, heck even a random dog. Am sure you are wondering why am focussing so much on the dog, right?
Well, rabies has a list of resoivor animals and the dog is on top of the list especially here in Kenya and Africa at large. Different continents have different resoivor animals that are at the top of the list such as cayotes, foxes, bats etc.
Lets go back to the dog, shall we? Did you know there is a vaccination against rabies? And its only Ksh 1000 at any local veterinarian that comes with a vaccination certificate? There is also free annual rabies vaccination campaigns in every County on September 28th which is World Rabies Day. Why is this important you may ask.
Well first of all, your dog will be protected against Rabies. Secondly, when your dog is protected so are you. Thirdly, if your dog bites someone you can provide your vaccination certificate as proof that your dog is indeed vaccinated and save yourself from alot of trouble with the law.
Did you know that once bitten, it may cost you upto Ksh.20,000 to get treatment? Thats quite an amount for something you could have prevented. There is a series of pre-exposure injections for people at high risk such as veterinarians and animal handlers usually administered at day 0-7-28. Furthermore for post exposure, there are 5 injections at day 0-3-7-14-28 for unvaccinnated people.
Back to the topic at hand, what to do if you’ve been bitten by a dog suspected to have rabies? Immediate action is needed so as to prevent spread of the virus. Wash that area with plenty of running water and antiseptic (e.g savlon, dettol) and then rush to the hospital. Meanwhile have that animal confined for observation to see whether the animal had rabies or not. Rabies affects the central nervous system so the closer to the C.N.S one is bitten, the faster the disease replicates and travels.
Remember that rabies is a very fatal disease and ignorance is not bliss.