Kapiri Mposhi district has recorded an increase in cases of rabies this year mostly resulting from several ordinary dog bites.
The district has recorded 42 cases of rabies involving humans out of 243 cases of ordinary dog bites this year alone.
This came to light during an emergency meeting called by Kapiri Mposhi District Commissioner, Urgent Mazuba to devise strategies aimed at mitigating the problem.
Mr. Mazuba summoned officers from the District Health Office (DHO),Veterinary Department, the Council and the Police Service.
The District Commissioner said the increase in the number of rabies cases is due to the increase in dog bites in the district due to a high number of stray dogs.
The increase is also attributed to lack of some dog owners to have their animals routinely vaccinated against rabies while some households are keeping more than the stipulated number of three dogs.
According to the Control of Dogs Act chapter 247 of the laws of Zambia it is a requirement for dog owners to obtain permits to own dogs from either the council or veterinary department and a household is allowed to keep not more than three dogs.
The Act further provides that dogs should be taken for routine anti rabies vaccination every after six months failure to which the dog owners are guilty of an offence and are liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 750 penalty units or a three month jail term with hard labour.
Mr. Mazuba advised dog owners to abide by the law and ensure that their animals are confined and vaccinated as required.
And a Medical Officer Charles Mwinuna said the increase in the number of rabies cases has strained the DHO budget to procure medication for the victims.
Dr. Mwinuna stated that the medication for rabies is very expensive therefore there is need for a lasting solution to curb the cases of
rabies in the area.
“Rabies carries five doses per case and each dose costs K100, 000 that is about K500,000 per patient. The Medical Office in the district does not have this kind of money to procure the doses”, Dr. Mwinuna said.
He said there is need to find a more cheaper and sustainable way to control the spread of rabies saying the curative stage is too expensive.
And the Council will soon deploy officers to carry out a door to door dog inspection exercise in order to take stock of the population of the animals per household in the district.
Council Secretary Venture Kafula said the local authority in conjunction with the Zambia Police will also embark on a dog control program to destroy stray dogs and those suspected to be infected with rabies.
“Working with the police, we are going to destroy some dogs especially those suspected to be infected with rabies by way of shooting them down and charging owners found flouting the Control of Dogs Act”, Mr.Kafula said.
The council has since commenced with the mobile sensitization of the public on the matter.