The Lagos State government on Tuesday in Ikorodu, flagged off a two-week free mass anti-rabies vaccination campaign to curb the menace of rabies and resultant human fatalities in the state.
Abisola Olusanya, the state commissioner for agriculture, explained that vaccination campaign was aimed at promoting awareness of rabies among dogs and cats as rabies remain a deadly disease mostly transmitted to humans through infected dogs’ bites which can result in fatalities if not treated early.
Olusanya said the need for the campaign arose as a result of the increase in reported 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 state-owned veterinary clinics in the five divisions of Lagos, including Badagry, Surulere, Ajah, Ikorodu, and Agege among others.
Rabies is one of the oldest communicable under-reported zoonotic diseases. Dogs are responsible for 98 percent 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.
Olusanaya said 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 be administered during the vaccination campaign.
The commissioner noted that rabies was most common in countries where stray dogs were allowed in large numbers, especially in Asia and Africa and 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 stated that rabies was a fatal disease that causes up to 59,000 deaths globally every year and as must be treated with all the seriousness by controlling and preventing its spread through regular vaccination of pets and domestic animals.
She, therefore, urged all dog owners to take them for vaccination at the designated veterinary clinics in the state and ensure that they are up to date on vaccination procedure to prevent human beings from getting infected.