World Rabies Day marked on Thursday, the infectious disease kills at least 1,500 people in Tanzania annually, it has been said. The mortality rate, however, could be lower because scientific experts believe many cases are not reported and, therefore, do not appear in official statistics. “Most rabies victims are children and transmission is through dog bites,” a dispatch from the East African Community (EAC) secretariat showed yesterday. The secretariat will organise World Rabies Day under a project being implemented by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). The event is normally organized alongside vaccination of the dogs through the Rabies Vaccination Initiative. “World Rabies Day is a striking example for the importance of those close cooperation between human and animal medical professions and for the necessity of the One Healthy approach, when preventing and controlling zoonotic diseases,” said Dr Stanley Sonoiya, the head of the EAC Health Department. He spoke alongside with Mr Fahari Marwa, head of the EAC Agriculture and Food Security Department. Rabies is the most fatal virus zoonosis, a disease that can be transmitted between animals and humans, known to humankind. Once an infected person shows signs, there is no cure for it. In Africa and Asia, many humans get infected by rabies through dog bites. The World Health Organization (WHO) stresses the importance of dog vaccination as the most effective intervention against rabies, decreasing rabies in dogs and having a direct impact on public health by reducing transmission to humans. According to M rMarwa, the EAC Secretariat strives to implement the one health approach in the EAC Region September 28 every year is observed to commemorate World Rabies Day, which marks the anniversary of the demise of Louis Pasteur, a French chemist and microbiologist, who developed the first rabies vaccine. While marking World Rabies Day, participants raise public awareness on rabies prevention and highlight progress in the fight against rabies that puts human and animal health at risk. Supported by the EAC Secretariat, WHO and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) among others, MbwaWa Africa Animal Rescue, will vaccinate about 5,000 dogs across 20 vaccination stations in Arusha City this Thursday. In addition, MbwaWa Africa raises public awareness in about 70 schools in Arusha on how to safely approach dogs and on how to read possible signs of rabies infection and to distinguish infected from healthy dogs. Weekly rabies awareness articles will be published in both English and Kiswahili newspapers.


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