Influx of Mozambique rabies cases worries Malawi

The District Health Officer (DHO) for Mwanza, Raphael Piringu has expressed worry over sudden rising numbers of rabies cases being referred to Mwanza hospital from Mozambique and the neighbouring districts of Chikhwawa and Neno, since last month.

Piringu said the hospital is recoding an average of 30 people each day suspected to having been bitten by rabies dogs.

“I believe there’s an outbreak out there because we are receiving an average of 30 rabies cases each day from Zobue in Mozambique since the end of last month. We have also received three cases from Neno and two from Chikhwawa, but so far we haven’t registered any case from Mwanza,” he said.

Piringu said the rabies cases were on the higher side compared to the available rabies vaccines at the hospital.

The DHO said that the development had put pressure on the already limited resources allocated to Mwanza district.

“We have already limited stocks of viral for rabies to cater for our population in the district and the funds we receive are not adequate to procure more viral to meet the rising demand. This has placed us in an awkward situation since rabies vaccines are expensive,” he said.

A single vaccine at central medical government stores is sold at K12, 000 while in private pharmacies it costs over K50,000 according to the DHO.

The DHO has since appealed to authorities to assist their hospital to enable them provide necessary remedy to patients on whom they had diagnosed to have rabies after being bitten by dogs.

He also appealed to veterinary department officials to find ways and means of preventing the rabies cases from increasing in the area.

The district veterinary officer, Salifu Kawaghe assured the people that his office would conduct massive rabies vaccination campaign for pets including dogs in the district before the end of August.

Meanwhile, he is appealing to key stakeholder to support the campaign to ensure its success.

Kawaghe warned that dogs found loitering during the campaign would be killed.

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