The Keta Municipal Health Directorate in the Volta Region has directed residents to kill all stray dogs in the community so they do not infect other dogs with rabies.
The warning is a move to curb a possible spread of rabies after the Keta Municipal Hospital recorded five cases of dog bites on Monday and Tuesday.
A statement by the Municipal Health Director, Perfect Titiati, on Wednesday, said the directive forms part of surveillance requirements to formally notify all stakeholders to be on alert to prevent the burden of rabies in the human population.
“Even though it has not been confirmed that the dog is infected with rabies, the nature of the bites is highly suggestive.
“The victims are all children between the ages of one year to eight years and the bites occurred at the upper part of the body towards the heart and brain,” she said.
Rabies is a disease transmitted to humans from domestic animals like dogs that are caused by a virus and is spread to people with infected saliva through bites and scratches.
In unvaccinated humans, rabies is almost always fatal if post-exposure prophylaxis is not administered before the onset of severe symptoms.
The rabies virus infects the central nervous system causing disease in the brain and eventually death.
“Specifically we entreat all stakeholders particularly Health Facility Staff, local media and the Public Health Emergency Committee Members to: Promote public awareness on dog bites and rabies case (i.e a person with headache, neck pain, nausea, fever, fear of water, anxiety, agitation, abnormal sensations or pain at wound site with close contact of infected saliva through bites & scratches),” according a statement by the health directorate.
It further directs that residents should respond promptly and appropriately to cases and outbreaks of dog bites.
Dog owners have been advised to vaccinate their dogs and cats to prevent outbreaks while the residents have also been urged to identify high-risk areas in the municipality and report to the appropriate authorities.