4,000 Nairobians are bitten by dogs annually, a new report shows.
A 33 page report titled the assessment of rabies in informal settlements put this as a major concern for the county as it has been consistent of over the last two years.
“Dog control is becoming a major problem in the capital.We also need to worry about rabies as well because it is equally a concern to the Veterinary department.” Read part of the report.
The interviewees visited ten dispensaries and two referral hospitals in an effort to get records of persons who were attend to by doctors after they being bitten by dogs in the last five years.
The report was done by Vétérinaires sans Frontières Germany in Kangemi, Muthurwa, Kibera, Mathare and Kawangware last year.
251 people took part in the study.
Two of the hospitals listed in the document were Mbagathi and Mutuini hospitals.
In Mbagathi, 680 dog bites were recorded in 2016 alone. 600 of them cases were from people living in Kibera. In Mutuini, a dispensary in Kawangware showed that 321 dog bite were reported from persons mostly living in Kawangware and Dagoreti settlements.
“The medical personnel thoroughly cleaned the wounds with water, left them open,administered antibiotics, tetanus toxoid and rabies PEP immunoglobulin when available. The patients were later referred to Mbagathi Hospital and/or Kenyatta National Hospital for rabies vaccination.” Read the report.
Rabies which is among the top five priority zoonotic diseases in the country is responsible for about 2,000 deaths in the country annually.
According to the study, 93 per cent of people living in these settlements would not know if a person died of rabies despite 91 per cent of them knowing what rabies is and more than half of them knowing the symptoms.
Estimates show that there are about 285,306 stray dogs in Nairobi
“This confirms the concerns raised by Nairobi County Government, Department of Veterinary Services, on dog control a major problem that should be addressed.” the report said.
The authors of the study now want the county government to have an anti rabies vaccine in all the health facilities visited, a record of persons bitten by dogs as well as the need to facilitate a rabies control program in line with the Rabies Elimination strategy in these informal settlements since dog management is very poor.
-The Star|RHODA ODHIAMBO