Rabies outbreak in Sheema, livestock, children in danger

Sheema district veterinary department authorities have confirmed an outbreak of rabies in the region, starting from Kasaana sub-county.

Rabies outbreak in Sheema, livestock and children in danger

Since the outbreak last week, two cows and two goats have succumbed to the disease, residents now live in fear for their children.

Residents in the area have expressed concern over stray dogs whose number has increased in the past few months. They are worried that these pose the greatest risk to their children.

Although we have tried to vaccinate our dogs, there has been rampant movement of stray dogs during this dry spell, we are now living in fear, especially for our children,” said Richard Turyahebwa, resident of Sheema Municipality.

Another resident, identified as Annet Korugyendo, who is a resident of Kasaana, appealed to owners of dogs to do their due diligence and vaccinate them.

This comes a few weeks after a cow died after showing symptoms of rabies infection. The district veterinary officer, Joseph Amanya, reported last week that they extracted tissue from the animal that they then sent to the laboratory to establish the presence of the virus.

On July 26, a cow at Kitagata Farm institute in Kasaana died after developing signs of rabies. Its brain samples were sent to the National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Centre in Entebbe and results came out positive,” Amanya said.

The veterinary department has since embarked on preventive measures to curb the virus before it runs out of hand.

We are carrying out vaccination of all animals and we hope to reduce the cases as soon as possible. The best way is prevention and once the bite is done on both humans and animals there is a need to be vaccinated with anti-rabies vaccine. Signs can be shown after three weeks and can cause death after a month,” Amanya said.

According to him, of the 8,000 known dogs in the area, 6,000 were vaccinated in the last 18 months.

A rabies infection shows up in the body through fever, headaches and muscle spasms which get worse with the infected person experiencing paralysis, convulsions and notably, mental illness. It is transmitted through saliva from an infected dog to another animal or a human.

The manager, Kitagata Farm Institute, David Mugabo, said that they are being careful in monitoring the animals. Only persons clad in protective gear are allowed near the animals.

Due to their proximity, the following villages have been put on alert following the outbreak: Kyabigo, Kigaba I and II in Kasaana Sub-county, Buraro, Omurusindura, and Rubaare I & II in Kitagata Sub-county.

This the second outbreak the district has seen, the first happened in 2019.

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