HomeNewsFG to eliminate rabies in Nigeria by 2030 – Minister

FG to eliminate rabies in Nigeria by 2030 – Minister

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The Federal Government says, it has taken steps to eliminate Dog – mediated Human rabies in the Nigeria environs by 2030.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, stated this at a joint ministerial news conference to commemorate the World Rabies Day on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said that rabies was a deadliest disease known to man with a fatality rate of almost 100 per cent.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the World Rabies Day which is held yearly on Sept. 28. has the theme ” All for 1-One Health for All”.

The minister said that the Federal Government in its continued effort to eliminate the deadly disease, has continued to procure Anti Rabies Vaccines for animal vaccination.

He said that government has also procured doses of Human pre- and post-exposure vaccines for vaccination of humans at high risk of rabies.

This according to him included animal health workers and hunters and those exposed to rabies through the bite of infected animals.

“Rabies is the deadliest disease known to man with a fatality rate of almost 100 per cent if adequate prophylaxis is not instituted immediately following exposure.

” It is zoonotic in nature, affecting all warm blooded animals and man, and is transmitted through the bite of an infected animal.

“In Nigeria dogs are responsible for approximately 99 per cent of these exposures.

” The burden of the disease in Nigeria is not known but it has been reported from every state in Nigeria occurring all year round with devastating outcomes in humans and livestock.

“It is however heartwarming to note that the disease is 100 per cent vaccine preventable.

“Hence by vaccinating your dogs and cats annually and keeping them on leash, rabies can be kicked out of Nigeria,” he said.

In a remark, the Minister of State for Environment, Dr Ishak  Salako, said that the theme of the 2023 rabies day was quite apt .

He emphasises the need to involve everyone through proper coordination, and health education to eventually mitigate the deadly scourge.

Salako said that stray dogs were the main sources of infection as they interact with one another, with an exposure window for transmission of the virus from an infected dog.

” I want to call on the officers with responsibility for management of wildlife and parks to improve on their surveillance activities to ensure the control of the spread of this disease,” he said.

The minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Tunji Alausa, said that rabies virus is spread through the saliva of the infected animal.

“It is estimated that rabies is responsible for 59,000 agonising human deaths annually with most people living in poor, rural community in Africa and Asia.

” One person dies of rabies around the world every nine minute according to Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC).

“In humans, the exact burden of rabies is not known because mapping is yet to be conducted,” he said.

He said that rabies is present on all continents except Antarctica with over 95 per cent of human deaths occurring in Asia and Africa.

The minister said that the treatment of rabies is estimated at the cost of US$8.6 billion per year.

He listed risk factors for rabies to include, trading of dogs, processing and eating dog meat, irresponsible dog ownership, stray dogs among others.

Alausa said that Global Strategic Plan for the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030 is an ambitious document with achievable targets.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, said that rabies remained endemic in Nigeria since it was first reported in 1912.

He said the theme of the 2023 rabies day is a call for  all stakeholders to join hands in the fight to control and eliminate rabies in Nigeria. (NAN)

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