One Health Coordination Platform has disclosed that dogs in Liberia have been infected with Canine Rabies.
Rabies is a deadly but preventable disease, transmitted from an infected/rabid animal.
Licks on open sores and scratches from infected animals may also pose a risk to developing rabies.
Headed by Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, One Health Coordination Platform is inclusive of the National Health Public Institute of Liberia, Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Commerce as well as the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Disaster Management Agency and development partners.
According to the group, preliminary testing conducted at the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) Central Veterinary Reference Laboratory identified rabies in dogs.
The Platform also disclosed that confirmatory testing was done at the Accredited Reference Laboratory of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Animal Health (OIE) in Italy as required by international authorities.
The confirmed cases were from Montserrado and Margibi counties.
Speaking in an exclusive interview conducted by The Monrovia Times Wednesday, Mr. Joseph Anderson, Head of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) Central Veterinary Reference Laboratory, quoting data from the National Public health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), disclosed that to date, more than 2000 cases of human exposure to animal bites ( suspected rabies were reported since 2017).
“Majority of the suspected reported cases from NPHIL last year were from Montserrado, Nimba, Margibi and Grand Bassa Counties,” he added.
According to Mr. Anderson the OIE has also predicted an outbreak of Rabies in the country and cautioned that appropriate measures should be instituted to arrest the situation.
Mr. Anderson has also called on the public to take preventive measures, including
“reporting any sick or dead dog to the County Health Team, MoA, or the nearest health facility, avoid bothering dogs when they are eating, and holding them by their tail; If bitten by dog, wash the affected area with soap and running water for at least 15 minutes and go to the nearest health facility; do not kill the dog or wild animal when bitten.”
Mr. Anderson also cautioned the public from eating dog meat, avoid dog licking your face, sores, eye, etc; do not take dog scratch for granted because it is of high risk, feed your dog often; and avoid other dogs interacting with your dog(s). among others.
He, however, pointed out that the lack of budgetary support to the Center Veterinary services at the Ministry of Agriculture is posing a serious challenge to its operation.