Four persons have died in the Ashanti Region following a rise in rabies cases in the region, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has announced.
The cases, according to a statement issued by the Regional Health Directorate, were reported from the Asante Akim South, Bosomtwe and Kwabre East districts of the region.
“As of Monday, September 12, 2022, the region had recorded a total of four confirmed cases and one probable case. The case fatality rate was 100 percent,” the statement signed by the Regional Director, Dr Emmanuel Tinkorang, said.
The service defined a suspected rabies case in humans as one presenting symptoms including headache, neck pain, nausea, fever, anxiety, fear of water, agitation, abnormal tingling sensations or pain at the wound site having come into contact with a rabid animal.
“For a confirmed case, a suspected case is confirmed by a laboratory test,” it said.
The Directorate thus urged all health facilities to immediately undertake enhanced community/public sensitisation on rabies, improve case search for rabies in the facilities, follow up and treat all cases of dog bites as well as liaise with veterinary officers in districts for dog vaccination exercise.
Rabies is a vaccine-preventable viral disease that spread to people from the saliva of infected animals.
The disease usually spread through an animal bite with animals most likely to spread rabies including dogs, bats, coyotes, foxes, skunks and raccoons.
Dogs however, are the main source of human rabies deaths, contributing up to 99 percent of all rabies transmissions to humans.
Globally, about 60,000 people die from rabies, especially in Africa and Asia and 40 percent of those bitten by suspected rabid animals are said to be children under 15 years of age.
A person bitten by a suspected rabid dog is advised to immediately wash wound thoroughly with soap and water as it’s crucial to saving lives.
One must seek immediate medical attention after a bite or suspected bite.
Although there is no specific treatment for rabies and once symptoms appear, it is nearly always fatal, a vaccine can prevent the infection.
Rabies is said to be endemic in Ghana and continues to pose a major public health threat to humans and animals.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH