ONIIPA: Namibians marked World Rabies Day here on Friday.
The first-ever commemoration of the Day in Namibia was held in Windhoek on 28 September last year.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Petrus Iilonga, officiated at the launch of the 2012 commemoration in the Oniipa Constituency in northern Namibia on Thursday.
Addressing a crowd of children from local schools, veterinary officials and members of the community, Iilonga pointed out that the mission of World Rabies Day is to raise awareness about the impact of human and animal rabies, how to prevent it easily and how to eliminate its main sources.
Rabies is one of the deadliest diseases in the world, but it remains a neglected disease.
Iilonga told those present that Rabies should no longer be neglected, adding that the tools and technology for human rabies prevention and dog rabies elimination are available in the country.
Symptoms of rabies in dogs are change of behaviour, attacking and biting anything, while in cattle, rabies symptoms are aggression and butting of other cattle and objects.
In cats, rabies symptoms are aggression, biting and uncoordinated walking, frothing and muscular tremors.
Symptoms of rabies in humans are, among others, fever, headache, depression, irritability, anxiety and insomnia.
Rabies is usually transmitted when a rabid animal bites a human or other animal.
‘It can also be transmitted through wounds or through the membranes of our eyes when infected fluids from sick animals enter them,’ Iilonga told his audience.
Although rabies is 100 per cent preventable in humans through prompt appropriate medical care, Iilonga said more than 55 000 people, mostly in Africa and Asia, die from rabies every year.
‘A rate of one person every 10 minutes,’ explained the deputy minister.
He indicated that rabies is a growing problem within Namibia as well as other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Quoting Namibian statistics, Iilonga said there is a steady increase in the cases of rabies in the country, despite the availability of technology, resources and legislative support.
The number of animals that were reported to have died of rabies in Namibia increased from 327 animals in 2006 to 585 animals in 2011, Iilonga noted.
Uncontrolled rabies in dogs remains the main source of that disease in humans.
World Rabies Day is remembered worldwide every year on 28 September since its inception in 2007.