World must work together to spread Facts, and not Fear, on World Rabies Day!
What you need to know about World Rabies Day
RABIES: Rabies is a very serious illness that can affect animals and humans. It is a preventable viral disease that is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system of mammals, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes, although any mammal can get rabies. In this part of the world, the dog, “Man’s Best Friend” is the reservoir host and over 90% of rabies cases in humans are as a result of dog bites.
What is World Rabies Day?
World Rabies Day takes place every year on September 28th. This date serves to create awareness about rabies, carry out vaccination campaigns and other activities around the world. This is an annual event where actors in the welfare of animals the prevention and control of rabies organizes different activities to celebrates the gains made and to acknowledge the work of Dr. Luis Pasteur. Dr. Luis Pasteur is the first scientist who discovered anti-rabies vaccines for both animals and humans.
What is this year’s theme?
The World Rabies Day theme for 2021 is “RABIES: FACTS NOT FEAR.” It’s a fitting theme especially for Sierra Leone as there are a lot of fear and misinformation about Rabies. Through awareness raising, people will be informed by facts to dispel the existing fears about the disease among our populations, to ensure everyone has the correct information about Rabies.
A first step that’s important for fighting rabies is increasing awareness through facts around it. We need to talk to one another about what is rabies, why is it dangerous, how animals and humans get rabies, the things we can do to help stop dog bites, and what to do if you or someone it bitten by a dog.
And this year, as part of the World Rabies Day Commemorations, we hope to give marklate to 1000 dogs and cats across the country.
How is rabies spread?
Rabies is in the saliva of an animal with rabies so when that animal bites another animal or person, rabies can enter. Even if the bite is small. Almost everyone who gets rabies gets it from the bite of a dog that has rabies.
How do you know if a dog/animal has rabies?
- Dogs with rabies can act different ways. Some dogs that get rabies act like they are “craze.” The dog may bite or try to bite other animals or people without being provoked and without fear.
- For other dogs, when rabies attacks them, it can make them become slow and stumble, have a hard time eating or swallowing, and drool plenty.
- But because dogs with rabies can act different ways, it’s not easy to know if a dog has rabies without the help of an animal health worker. If you see a dog acting strange or looking sick, it is good to stay away and call an animal health worker, community health worker, or 117.
What can we do to prevent dog bites?
Sometimes, dogs can bite people and other animals because they have rabies. But, dogs may also bite for other reasons, and there are things we can do to avoid dog bites. For example:
- Disturbing a dog might make the dog feel surprised, afraid, or angry and cause it to bite. So leave dogs be. Especially when they are sleeping, eating, or with their young.
- Many people keep dogs for security and to protect from thieves. Going slow will help a dog know you are not trouble. So take your time passing or entering where a dog lives.
- If a dog is not feeling fine, whether it be rabies or some other sickness, disturbing the dog can make it bite. So it is good to stay away from any dog that is acting strange or looking sick. And call your animal or community health worker or 117 for advice.
What should you do if you or someone is bitten by a dog?
- If a dog bites you, wash the bite right away with soap and water 20 times. Over and over again for at least 15 minutes, for all dog bites. Big and small. Washing very well with soap and water can help stop rabies.
- After a dog bite and after washing the bite 20 times, go quickly to the hospital. The health workers can make sure the wound is washed well. You must go quickly before you feel sick. Once sick with rabies, it is too late.
Where can I get marklate for my dog?
- For World Rabies Day this year, we will be having symbolic dogs and cats’ marklate for free in all 15 districts headquarter towns and Freetown while supplies last. The marklate will continue after that day.
- The dates and times for giving this marklate are:
- In the afternoon on Tuesday, September 28th
- The locations for giving these marklate are:
- All district headquarters towns at the District Agriculture Office except in Western Area Rural. Marklate will be given in Western Area Rural at the District Council Office in Waterloo
- In Freetown, on Tuesday, Sept 28th in the afternoon, symbolic marklate will be given at Family Kingdom on Lumley beach.
- If you are not sure where to go or need help finding one of these locations, call 117 for more information.
- The dates and times for giving this marklate are:
- If you are not able to bring your dog or cat to get marklate or the marklate finish quick for this World Rabies Day, you can take your dog or cat to get marklateat any time from your District Agriculture Office in the districts and in Freetown, you can go to SLAWS (Sierra Leone Animal Welfare Society) at Congo Cross. But be sure to bring money with you as that marklate is not free.
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