Below is a summary of the “Strategic Plan for the Elimination of Human Rabies in Kenya 2014 – 2030” by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Zoonotic Disease Unit September 2014
WHAT IS RABIES?
Rabies is a fatal but preventable disease. Rabies is a viral disease that is transmitted through the saliva or tissues from the nervous system from an infected mammal to another mammal, usually through a bite.
Human mortality from canine rabies is estimated to be 60,000 per year worldwide, with about 56% of the cases occurring in Asia and 43.6% in Africa, mostly in rural areas. This translates to 1 death due to rabies every 10 minutes in the two continents.
In Kenya, it is estimated that up to 2,000 human deaths occur annually due to rabies. Domestic dogs are responsible for transmission of over 98% of all human rabies cases in Kenya
Nairobi City Council reported 4,000 dog bites in 2015.
HOW DO WE PREVENT RABIES?
Vaccinate all dogs and cat against rabies – pets and strays. It is cheaper to vaccinate a dog against rabies than to give a person post-exposure prophylaxis (treatment after a dog bite). Treatment of rabies for people is expensive and not readily available in rural areas, while 1 vaccine for a dog or cat costs about 60 Ksh (including needle syringe)!
Pet cats should also be vaccinated for rabies – they may be exposed while outside and can potentially bring rabies into the home.
Be a responsible pet owner! When was the last time your dog or cat was vaccinated against rabies? Contact your local veterinarian or participate in a government anti-rabies campaign.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO ELIMINATE/DECREASE RABIES IN KENYA?
In 2007, a rabies elimination program was run in the Philippines through vaccination, dog population control, education, and improved surveillance and monitoring. In 2010, cases of human rabies decreased from 8 persons per million annually to ZERO.
For the full report, please go to: http://www.rr-africa.oie.int/docspdf/en/2015/Kenya-National-Rabies-Elimination-Strategy.pdf