The Federal Ministry of Health, on Thursday distributed 1,812 anti rabies vaccines to nine accredited faculties and colleges of veterinary medicine in the country.
Mrs Ifeoma Anagbogu, Director, Neglected Tropical Disease in the ministry, who distributed the vaccines in Abuja, said the Federal Government was committed to the fight against the disease.
The director said the released of the free vaccines to beneficiary institutions was as a result of request by the Veterinary Council of Nigeria to ensure that all clinical veterinary students are vaccinated against the disease.
“We did not hesitate to make the vaccines available because the veterinarians are always at the forefront of the prevention and control of the virus.
“Although, the disease has not been reported in Africa countries but the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently given a red alert on the disease
“That is why everybody in my department is on standby. The challenge we have now is that, we do not have a specific numbers of Nigerians that has died of the disease, “she said.
She lamented that some people go as far as sleeping with these animals in the same bed, saying “it is dangerous, stop being ignorant of the disease.”
“Every case of dog bite should henceforth be reported to the nearest hospital or relevant authorities for quick action
“If at all you must keep these animals for whatsoever reason, you must ensure that they are properly taken care of and up to date on their vaccine.
“Development Partners have showed interest in working with us towards eradicating the disease through creating more awareness to Nigerians, ” she added.
She, however, appealed to the Veterinary Council of Nigeria and Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association to work closely with the ministry by following every rumour and make sure they are dealt with accordingly.
Speaking with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) she said that rabies is a viral disease that causes acute inflammation of the brain in human.
Anagbogu added that domestic animals such as dogs, cats, cattle and bats transfer the virus to human through bites and scratches.
“The bite of animal infected with the virus is the most common cause of rabies.
“The virus is carried in the saliva of the rabid animal and one can be affected by the virus through open wound on the skin.
“Domestic animal can become rabid if bitten. So the best thing is to avoid body contact with these animals,” Anagbogu said.