The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya has said that a free, two-week, mass anti-rabies vaccination campaign will commence on Tuesday, 16th February 2021, to curb the menace of the disease in the State.
Olusanya explained that the campaign is aimed at promoting awareness on rabies among dogs and cats since the disease is deadly and mostly transmitted to humans, through bites from infected dogs to cause fatalities, if not treated early.
The Commissioner disclosed that the need for the campaign arose as a result of increased cases of canine rabies across the State, making it a persistent endemic problem.
According to her, 6,250 vaccines would be administered to dogs and cats that are made available at any of the State Government Veterinary Clinics in the five divisions of the State including Badagry, Surulere, Ajah, Ikorodu, and Agege among others.
She said, “Rabies is one of the oldest communicable under-reported zoonotic diseases. Dogs are responsible for 98% of fatality in humans. Annually, hundreds of human deaths are recorded globally despite the fact that rabies is preventable through vaccination, public awareness and responsible ownership”.
“6250 vaccines donated by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Veterinary Services, would thus be administered during the vaccination campaign. The flag-off programme takes place at Oba Ayangburen’s Palace, Ikorodu, on the 16th of February, 2021 by 10.00a.m,” Olusanya stated.
Pointing out that rabies is most common in countries where stray dogs are present in large numbers, especially in Asia and Africa, the Commissioner said the disease could be contacted if the saliva from an infected animal got into an open wound or through the eyes or mouth of a human being.
Olusanya warned that rabies is a fatal disease that causes up to 59,000 deaths globally every year and, therefore, must be treated with all the seriousness it deserves by controlling and preventing its spread through regular vaccination of all pets and domestic animals against rabies.
Her words: “Concerted efforts must be made to control the stray dog population in the urban and rural areas for a significant reduction in the incidence of human and canine rabies in the State”.
The Commissioner, therefore, urged all dog owners to bring their dogs for vaccination at the designated veterinary clinics in the State, just as she expressed the need to ensure that vaccination procedures are up-to-date as that is the only way to prevent human beings from getting infected.