Over 300 school children bitten by stray dogs in Kampala this year

Dr.Rogers Ruyonga (left), Private Secretary for Ventrinary Affairs, State House and students of Makerere University, college of Veterinary medicine vaccinate a dog against rabies in Kyanja, Nakawa
division, Kampala. PHOTO BY ALEX ESAGALA.

At least 300 school going children have been bitten by stray dogs between January and March this year in Kampala city and are at risk of contracting rabies if the animals are not vaccinated.

The revelation was Thursday made by Dr Robinson Nabaasa, the veterinary officer based at the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) at a rabies vaccination outreach held in Kyanja, a city suburb.

“We have veterinary experts administering free vaccination against rabies for dogs and cats as well as sensitise the community,” Dr Nabaasa said in an interview with Daily Monitor.

He noted that the vaccination will help to protect the dogs and cats from spreading rabies among themselves or passing it to human beings which can culminate into an outbreak.

Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal like a Dog or Cat, Dr Nabaasa said.

According to Dr Nabaasa, Kampala is home to about 20,000 dogs, out of which 6,000 are stray ones without ownership, about 2,000 dogs have owners who dont care about them and about 12,000 are controlled and cared for by their owners.

Dr Nabaasa observed: “If you look at the statistics in the first three months this year, we have about 300 dog bites on school going children as reported from various health facilities .”

“If these dogs had rabies, right now we would be having a rabies outbreak but this exercise will ensure that even isolated cases of the disease are controlled,” Dr Nabaasa said, adding that currently the affected children are receiving post exposure treatment.

Dr Alex Kakoraki, a general physician based at Murchison Bay hospital said that treating dog-bite costs about Shs300, 000 for three doses with each dose of the anti-rabies vaccine sold at Shs100, 000.

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