Experts in zoonotic diseases and authorities in Greater Bushenyi districts in western Uganda have raised red flag and warnings following an outbreak of deadly rabies in Sheema district.

The disease has been confirmed in four villages in two sub counties that are now under serious surveillance including Kyabigo, Kigaba 1&2 in Kasaana Sub County, Buraro, Omurusindura and Rubaare 1& 2 in Kitagata sub county.

On July 26, 2022, a cow at Kitagata Farm Institute in Kabwohe Sheema district developed all signs and symptoms of rabies prompting the relevant authorities to notify the area veterinary officers and other experts who picked brain and other samples before confirming that it’s rabies outbreak.

According to Joel Nabaasa who is the Sheema district animal husbandry production officer, this cow, two other cows and three goats have died in less than one month. All animals that died had signs and symptoms of rabies like hypersalivation, aggression and bellowing, and the results from samples submitted to the national animal disease diagnostic and epidemiology centre in Entebbe returned positive.

Joel Nabaasa who is the Sheema district animal husbandry officer.

Background. On July 1, 2022, a dog succumbed to rabies in the same area which surprised authorities since they had done the annual vaccination of dogs and cats. It is suspected that this dog spread rabies to the animals on Kitagata farm institute.

Action. Since rabies is known in dogs and cats, the latest outbreak in farm animals has prompted the district authorities to put on alert the health department which has also informed all health centre in-charges for extensive sensitization and other interventions.

Dr Joseph Amanya, the Sheema District Veterinary Officer says the disease is considered to be 100% fatal and a bite from an affected vector is the common cause of infection. As efforts to mitigate this continue, the public has been implored to report all suspected cases and respond positively to awareness and animal vaccination campaigns whenever they are called upon.

Yona Asasira, an animal scientist and farmer has also expressed concern over low levels of awareness among the public which increases the spread of zoonotic diseases since some members of the community eat the dead animals without engaging experts to ascertain the causes of their death. Such corpses are supposed to be burnt to ashes.

Rise News Uganda further confirmed that Sheema district currently has no vaccines though they have submitted a request for the vaccines from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries-MAIIF – as of August 11,2022.

RISE NEWS UGANDA on TWITTER https://twitter.com/RiseNewsUganda/status/1559177977442836482?s=20&t=V4u59jcLLZ2AQ6dzLOxMLg



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