Kayonza - Authorities and veterinary experts warned yesterday that a rabies outbreak in Eastern Province could spread among humans in the province, if not contained.
Health officials confirmed reports of rabies in districts neighboring Akagera National Park, especially, Kayonza, Nyagatare and Gatsibo.
According to Dr. Justin Zimurinda, the coordinator of Rwanda Animal Resource Development Authority (RARDA), in Eastern Province, the veterinary officers have been monitoring the situation seriously, and will increase surveillance and vaccination of dogs.
“The district near the park are most prone...one of the possible causes is that domestic dogs get in contact with wild animals in the park that spread it to other animals and people they come across,” he said.
“We fear the rabies may spread to other districts. RABISIN vaccine for rabies has been provided in all districts, and the process of vaccination is underway.”
Zimurinda added that similar outbreaks have been contained before. Dr. Robert Ruhayisha of Kirehe Hospital said that people who come in contact with stray dogs should immediately seek medical attention.
“If untreated, rabies can infect the central nervous system and ultimately cause death,” he said.
Meanwhile, the district has put up measure to get rid of all dogs that do not have owners or left unattended to.
Anselme Majoro the Mayor of Gatsibo District confirmed that local leaders are working closely with the police to eliminte the dogs.
“We are going to kill all unvaccinated dogs and those that are not attended to by the owners,” he said. “With the outbreak of rabies, we must be very vigilant.”