Auxilia Katongomara Chronicle Reporter
A rabies outbreak in Tsholotsho has claimed the lives of two people so far this year, with 10 others being bitten by the rabid animals.
Tsholotsho District administrator Nosizi Dube said they are making concerted efforts to curb the spread of the deadly disease, adding that some dogs would be vaccinated today.
“So far we’ve two people who’ve died from rabies, we’ve recorded 10 bites from rabid animals and we’re working flat out to contain the outbreak,” said Dube.
She said a seven year old boy Lloyd Dube, 7, of Ward 11 in Makhaza village was bitten by a dog on January 1 and died on January 24.
“The other victim is 40-year-old Cowboy Makhwelo from Nanda Village who was bitten by the same dog on January 2 and died on February 3.
“From the 10 bite cases we have eight from dogs, one donkey bite and one cat bite but they have all been vaccinated,” said Dube.
She said vaccination of dogs in the district had commenced particularly in Ward 11 and 14 where most people have been bitten by dogs.
Dube said they received assistance from Plan International, the district civil protection unit as well as the Veterinary Services Department to arrest the spread of rabies.
“We’re carrying out dog vaccinations in Ward 11 and 14 today, we received 6,000 vaccines from the veterinary department but they are far less than half the dogs in the district as we estimate that there are plus or minus 15,000 in total,” said Dube.
She expressed fears that dog owners might not vaccinate all dogs as they are charged $1 to vaccinate each pet.
“Investigations of other bites are still being conducted by the veterinary department and we also have 100 human vaccines,” added the district administrator.
She said they had roped in school heads, teachers, environment health workers, government extension workers and all traditional leaders to spearhead awareness campaigns.
“We’re appealing to everyone to be careful when playing with dogs particularly children and to also report every case suspected to be rabies or animal bites,” said Dube.
Rabies is a viral disease that affects warm-bloodied animals and humans.
Experts say signs and symptoms in both man and animals can take 10 days to show and these include general body weakness, appetite loss, salivation, hydrophobia, non-selective bite, delirium, convulsions and lastly death.