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FCTA moves to curb transmission, spread of dog, cat infections in Abuja

FCTA moves to curb transmission, spread of dog, cat infections in Abuja

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat has renewed commitment towards eradication the transmission and spread of dog and cat-mediated rabies infections.

The Mandate Secretary for the secretariat, Malam Abubakar Ibrahim, gave the assurance at the commemoration of the 2022 World Rabies Day, held at Nyanya Veterinary Clinic, on Wednesday in Abuja.

The reports gathered that Sept. 28 is a day set aside by the WHO to raise awareness about rabies disease.

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It is also to demonstrate practical commitments and actions by nations towards the prevention, control and eradication of the disease.

Ibrahim said that the risks of transmission and spread of the dog and cat disease in the FCT was very high being a cosmopolitan city, with a fast-growing human and animal population.

He said that the FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu had approved the commencement of a free vaccination through the length and breadth of the FCT.

The mandate secretary said that already veterinary doctors and animal health workers in the secretariat had been mobilised to ensure the success of the exercise.

He said the FCT administration target was to embark on a five-year annual vaccination campaign against the dreaded zoonotic disease that was a menace not only in Nigeria but the world over.

“I will like to call on dogs and cats owners in the FCT to take advantage of this exercise which will be going on simultaneously in the six area councils of the FCT for the next four weeks to vaccinate their animals and pets for their safety.

“This will help in improving the general health and well-being of FCT populace,” he said.

Ibrahim said his year’s event with the theme: “One Health Zero Deaths” was apt considering the rising cases of rabies infection that were reported globally.

He said that records showed that about 55,000 persons in Nigeria die annually from dog and cat-mediated rabies infections.

According to him, though cats and other wild animals are major carriers of the disease, dogs account for over 99 percent of recorded infections.

“More worrisome to health practitioners is the fact that the fatality rate of the disease ranks amongst the deadliest zoonotic diseases because once a rabies infection is established, there is no effective cure and the risk of transmission is very high.

“It is against this backdrop that the FCT Administration through the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat has adopted a multi-targeted approach to effectively combat the disease.

“The approaches include embarking on aggressive sensitisation campaign with qualified animal health and information management experts and strengthening the capacities of veterinary personnel and facilities to effectively manage rabies cases,” he said.

Ibrahim said the secretariat carries out periodic anti-rabies vaccination across the nooks and crannies of the FCT.

He commended the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association, the Nigeria Veterinary Research Institute and others for their relentless support over the years in the fight against the disease.

The mandate secretary expressed optimism that the provision of 47,000 doses of vaccines and other materials by the ministry would go a long way in helping the FCT eradicate the dreaded disease.

He said it would also ensure the attainment of the WHO target of “zero human rabies deaths by 2030”.

Earlier, the Director, Veterinary Services at the secretariat, Dr Regina Adulugba said the administration was committed to achieving zero record of the virus in the territory hence the extension of the exercise to neighbouring state of Nasarawa.

She lamented the challenge stray dogs posed to achieving the administration’s goals, saying that ending their menace in the streets of FCT was key to eliminating rabies.

Adulugba appealed to pet owners to take advantage of the exercise and ensure that their pets were vaccinated to prevent the spread of the virus.

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