Manzini Residents Urged to Vaccinate Their Pets Against Rabies
…12 vaccination stations in the city have been arranged for today and tomorrow
The Kingdom of Eswatini late last month joined the rest of the world in the commemoration of 2021 World Rabies Day. Rabies is a disease that is caused by a virus which is transmitted through the saliva of a rabid animal. A bite or scratch is enough to create an open wound where the virus gets in. The commemoration is held annually; the purpose being to raise awareness about the viral disease as well as to disseminate information about how to prevent it. This year’s theme is “Rabies: Facts, not Fear” and it is aimed at sharing facts about the disease and to dispel myths. With effect from today, the Ministry of Agriculture, through the Manzini Veterinary Office, is rolling out a citywide two-day rabies vaccination campaign which targets dogs and cats. At least 12 rabies vaccination stations have been arranged in strategic areas around the urban area. Others are located outside the urban boundary.
The Municipal Council of Manzini implores residents of the city who own dogs and cats to make use of this opportunity and bring their pets to the various vaccination sites. The citywide vaccination exercise ends tomorrow. However, residents can still bring their pets to the Manzini Veterinary Office for vaccination even after tomorrow. According to Manzini Animal Health Inspector Sibonginkosi Mdluli, today the vaccination stations will be at the Zakhele Sports Ground, Ludwala shopping complex, Sihlahleni shopping centre, Mabhodini in Ngwane Park, Mkhiweni in Ngwane Park and Sigayweni in Ngwane Park. The vaccination stations open at 7am and close at 12Noon. Tomorrow the vaccination stations will be at the Fairview North recreational park, Murray Camp, St Paul’s School, Sterkstroom, Living Waters and Mangwaneni.
“Dogs and cats are supposed to get the vaccination every year but last year we did not manage to properly rollout the programme due to restrictions related to the Covid-19 virus. We, therefore, urge urban residents who own dogs and cats to come out in their numbers and bring their pets for vaccination. Vaccination is free of charge. Those who prefer to bring their pets to the Veterinary offices in Manzini for vaccination may do so; even after the 2-day period,” Mdluli said. He said owners of pets that will be born after the vaccination period must bring them to the Veterinary offices for vaccination when they are three months old. The animal health inspector urged pet owners to keep the vaccination receipts in a safe place after vaccination, adding that ‘in the event the dog bites a person the receipt makes it easy to find out whether the dog was vaccinated or not; and that makes it easy to swiftly attend to the victim’.
Asked whether or not the call for vaccination was necessitated by an outbreak of rabies in the city, the animal health inspector said ‘so far we do not have an outbreak of the disease but it is better to prevent than cure’. According to Mdluli, rabies is a zoonotic disease hence it is transmissible to human beings; and it can be fatal if not immediately attended to. Many people interact with dogs and cats in their daily lives; both at home and away from home; which makes them vulnerable to rabies. It is, therefore, essential that these pets be vaccinated in order to prevent the spread of the disease. “Rabies is an infection of the central nervous system that doesn’t cause symptoms at first but develops over time and becomes deadly. After exposure, such as a rabid dog or cat’s bite, the person will begin to feel weak, have a fever, develop headaches and body-wide discomfort.
If left untreated over a period of weeks or months, it will compromise the nervous system and result in abnormal behavior such as hallucinations, insomnia, mobility issues, fear of water and, eventually, death”, Mdluli stated. In the event of a dog bite, Mdluli advised that the victim wash the bite with running water and immediately rush to the nearest hospital. According to Mdluli, physical signs of a rabies in dogs include fever, difficulty swallowing, excessive drooling, staggering, seizures and paralysis. Furthermore, there is no cure for rabies. Once clinical signs occur, an infected animals dies within a few days. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), dogs are the main source of human rabies-related deaths and 40 percent of people bitten by suspect rabid animals are children under 15 years of age. The WHO has recently launched a strong campaign that is aimed at driving progress towards ‘zero human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030’.
…MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT RABIES
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has dispelled a number of myths relating to rabies; and this is in line with this year’s World Rabies Day theme “Rabies: Facts, not Fear”.
MYTH: Responsible dog ownership means you feed your dog well.
FACT: Responsible dog ownership means that you register your dog with the local authority, you annually vaccinate your dog for rabies, you keep your dogs from roaming the streets and you feed and care for your dog in an ethically responsible manner.
MYTH: Rabies is transmitted only by the bite of a rabid animal.
FACT: Transmission by the bite of a rabid animal is the most common way. Rabies can also be transmitted through a scratch inflicted by a dog or an animal if fresh saliva is on the nail that causes the scratch. Airborne transmission of rabies may also occur when handling bat guano or in bat caves.
MYTH: Dog vaccines prevent your dog from getting rabies for only a few months.
FACT: If your dogs are vaccinated against rabies, they are protected for at least one year with each vaccine.
MYTH: Dog owners can choose whether or not to vaccinate their dogs against rabies.
FACT: As a dog owner you are required to vaccinate your dogs against rabies every year. This protects you, your family, friends, your community and your dogs.
MYTH: If a dog bites a person, it is only important to care for the person.
FACT: Actually, if a dog bites a person it is necessary to catch the dog and keep it in a room or cage, isolated from other animals and people for 10 days; to observe it for abnormal or rabies-like behavior, in addition to making sure the person who was bitten receives proper treatment.
MYTH: Rabies is not life-threatening or fatal to humans.
FACT: Rabies is always life-threatening and can result in death if the bite wound is not washed immediately and the post-exposure vaccination is not timely given. Immediate and thorough washing of a bite wound is essential. Flush the wound with a strong stream of water. Wash well with soap or detergent. Then apply a disinfectant to the wound and surrounding tissue. Immediately thereafter, take the person to the hospital or vaccination point/veterinary office.
MYTH: If I were bitten by a vaccinated dog, I do not need a post-exposure human vaccine.
FACT: Even if the dog is vaccinated against rabies, you should still go to the doctor for consultation. The doctor will evaluate the bite wound and advise on whether or not a post-exposure vaccine is necessary. If you do not seek medical care, you are risking your life.
…MUNICIPAL SERVICE DELIVERY IN PROGRESS IN MANZINI
The Municipal Council of Manzini continues to deliver municipal service to citizens of the City of Manzini in line with its mission “To provide quality municipal services that add value to all our customers through good governance and partnering with relevant stakeholders”. The following is a highlight of some of the service delivery activities that have taken place recently…
- 11 ILLEGAL DUMPS CLEARED
The City of Manzini continues to experience incidents of illegal dumping. Illegal dumping is the disposal of waste in undesignated sites such as undeveloped plots, public open spaces and road reserves. Illegal dumping is a criminal offence in the city. Anyone practising illegal dumping risks prosecution if caught. A total of 11 illegal dumps with a combined weight of 440kg were cleared last month. These were from Ngwane Park (4), Sikhunyane (1), Fairview South and North (5) as well as Ntunja Township (1). Residents are urged to hire the Municipality’s skip for bulk waste that is not collected by the refuse trucks and refrain from dumping where they are not supposed to.
- 111 STRAY CATTLE REMOVED FROM URBAN AREA, IMPOUNDED
Residents and livestock owners in surrounding areas outside the Manzini urban boundary are reminded that keeping of cattle in the city or cattle grazing is an illegal offence. Whenever the Municipality comes across livestock in the city, it drives it to the municipal pound for impoundment. There are applicable fees required from livestock owners for the release of their animals. After 40 days of non-collection, the livestock is sold by public auction. Livestock farmers are, therefore, urged to always keep their livestock away from the city. A total of 121 stray cattle were impounded last month; 111 of which had been collected from the Manzini urban area. The remainder were brought into the municipal pound by Eswatini Road Safety; having been removed from the public roads outside the city. By the end of September, only 91 had been released.
- INTEGRATED INFRASTRUCTURE MAINTENANCE SERVICES RENDERED
The Municipal Council of Manzini continued to provide infrastructure maintenance services in the city. A number of faulty high mast and street lights were fixed. These were mostly in Fairview, Ngwane Park, Madonsa and along the Central Distributor road. Faulty traffic lights were also fixed. Invasive Alien Plant Species were also removed in the Mzimnene river gully and Ngwane Park. Road maintenance in the form of storm water drains cleaning, road markings, re-gravelling and pothole patching also occurred in Madonsa, Moneni, Ngwane Park, MR3 bridges and Fairview South. The Municipality continues to monitor the state of the roads. A number of roads have been affected by the recent heavy rains and the Municipality is already attending to them in phases; starting with the worse affected ones. Citizens are urged to continue reporting service delivery requirements through its 24/7 Toll-free line (800 2004) or WhatsApp (7808 2333) or facebook (Manzini News).