Rabies is a viral disease. It is transmitted to humans via the saliva of infected mammals. It causes inflammation of the brain leading to the following early symptoms: fever and tingling at the site of exposure. When the disease is progressing, patients will show the following patterns: violent movements, hyperarousal, aquaphobia (fear of water), a failure to move body parts, confusion and finally loss of consciousness. When one of those symptoms start appearing, the outcome is almost always lethal.
Rabies is widely distributed across the globe. More than 55,000 people die of rabies each year. About 95 percent of human deaths occur in Asia and Africa, according to WHO. Most human deaths follow a bite from an infected dog. About 30 to 60 percent of dog bite victims are children under the age of 15. There are safe and effective vaccines available for people who have been bitten by an animal that might have the disease. However, compliance in developing countries is low due to the high cost.
Every September 28th is International Day for Rabies known as “World Rabies Day”. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) aim to unite relevant partners. The goal is to address rabies prevention and control.
Studies in Tanzania show that rabies is responsible for an estimated 1,500 deaths per year in Tanzania. Poverty and access to health services present additional barriers to treatment, especially in rural areas.
Tanzania has introduced a national rabies control strategy which aims to eliminate dog-mediated rabies by 2030. The Rabies Elimination Demonstration Project was implemented in 2010. It was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since then, human rabies deaths reduced by approximately 75% in the surveyed areas. Read more at the following lin: https://www.who.int/rabies/control/Tanzania_Project_Summary_310317.pdf
To prevent transmission, vaccination of your pets like dogs and cats is an important step. ZAASO in Zanzibar has a veterinarian that can assist you in the process. For Zanzibar, we still recommend our patients to get vaccinated pre-exposure. You can reach out to us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions related to this specific vaccination. In case you have been bitten, please contact us immediately on +255 622 820011.