Rabies killing children in Ashanti region

Reports reveal that rabies is suddenly terminating the lives of children in the Ashanti region.

Joy News’ Seth Kwame Boateng, who reported from the isolation ward of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in the region, said a 10-year-old boy died Tuesday from rabies. Some other cases have been recorded earlier.

Kwame Boateng further narrated how he saw the lifeless body of the boy lying on a bed with his hands and legs tied up. The body was later wrapped in a bed sheet to be conveyed to the morgue.

A doctor, Edward Addo, who attended to him, said “we had a hard time keeping him calm; we had to isolate him because he could even bite somebody which could spread the infection.”

All attempts to treat the rabies proved futile.
Meanwhile, it was not the usual rabies from a dog bite, which killed him but a ‘street’ cat, as doctors described it.

Dr. Addo said the deceased acquired the disease through scratches from the cat he came into contact with while on his way to a church service with his dad.

According to reports, the deceased picked up the cat, suspected to be suffering from the rabies, and after a while, it scratched parts of his body, thereby, acquiring the disease.

The doctor explained that the boy never told his parents until symptoms of the disease began to show on him and eventually opened up.

Veterinary officials in the region have warned that the spate of death from rabies was alarming.

Regional Director of Veterinary Services in the Ashanti region, Dr. Kofi Kwansah-Filson feared many people could die from the disease if funds were not released for the mass vaccination of dogs and cats.

He said the situation was alarming because “we are not vaccinating many more pets as we used to do 10-15 years ago. Even the human deaths are very alarming.”

Rabies as defined is a viral disease that causes acute inflammation of the brain in humans and other warm-blooded animals.

The time period between contracting the disease and the start of symptoms is usually one to three months.

It could also vary from less than one week to more than one year. The time is dependent on the distance the virus must travel to reach the central nervous system.

Early symptoms may include fever and tingling, followed by either violent movements, uncontrolled excitement, and fear of water or an inability to move parts of the body and confusion followed by loss of consciousness.

In both cases, once symptoms appear, it always results in death.

The disease is spread to humans from another animal, commonly by a bite or scratch.

Infected saliva, which comes into contact with any mucous membrane is also a risk factor.

Globally, most cases are the result of a dog bite being the cause in more than 90 per cent of cases in countries where dogs commonly have rabies.

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