In order to address the outbreak of rabies in Abuja, the Veterinary Services Department of the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat is embarking on free vaccination exercise for dogs and cats in the FCT.
The Director, Veterinary Services Department of the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Dr. (Mrs) Regina Adulugba, disclosed this while addressing Veterinary officers of the Secretariat at the start of the exercise at the FCT Veterinary clinic in Nyanya, Abuja.
According to her, there has been an upsurge of rabies outbreak in the FCT in recent times and that the Secretariat was in addition to the routine clinical vaccination exercise embarking on a campaign to sensitize FCT residents on the importance of vaccinating their animals. She cautioned residents to be conscious as the disease was highly fatal and difficult to cure.
“I am calling on all residents not just dog and cat owners to be cautious because at the moment, there has not been any confirmed cure for the disease. It is important to note also that not just dogs, even cats can be carriers of the rabies virus so our best bet is to annually vaccinate these animals”, she explained.
Speaking further on the Mambilla Barracks incidence, where a rabies-infected dog attacked a baby, she said the Secretariat took samples from the dog and sent to the National Veterinary Research Institute Vom, which tested positive for the virus. She urged residents to ensure that they confine their pets especially dogs to minimize the risk of attacks. “Even the saliva from an infected pet can be dangerous so it is important to take caution” Adulugba said.
In order to address the issue, Dr. Adulugba disclosed that the Secretariat has procured enough vaccines and other necessary inputs to carry out the exercise free of charge as directed between now and December 2019.
“We have fully mobilized all our Veterinary doctors and other health workers and we will be taking the campaign to all the 6 Area Councils of the FCT to offer the free vaccines. I therefore call on pet owners to take advantage of the window to vaccinate their animals” she advised.
She warned the officers against unprofessional conduct as a team has been put in place to monitor their activities.