Investigation and Response to Dog Bites and Suspect Cases Rabies - Batouri Health District, East Cameroon, 2018

  • Animal health
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Rabies, a viral zoonosis, is fatal after symptom onset. In Cameroon, the confirmation of 2 human cases (CC) in 2016 in the central region by the Centre Pasteur of Cameroon shows that the risk of contracting rabies remains high. The lack of an effective sentinel surveillance system and socio-cultural constraints mean that the current fragmented data do not allow for an estimate of the burden of rabies on human and animal health. On December 28, 2017, one suspected case (SC) of rabies and 21 dog bites were reported to the Ministry of Public Health of the Belita 2 Health Domain (BHA), Batouri Health District in eastern Cameroon. A multidisciplinary team was deployed to investigate and respond to this information.

We conducted a cross sectional study. We actively search exposed human (EC) and animal rabies SC’s in the community during a one-week period. We reviewed medical records from health facilities, and dog vaccination records from zoo technical and veterinary centers in BHA. An EC of rabies was a person bitten, scratched or licked by an animal between 20th October 2017 and 4th January 2018 in BHA. A SC was any EC presenting with headache, agitation, hydrophobia or fever. CC was any SC with a positive test from CPC. We determine proportions.

Forty EC were identified, 70% (28/40) resided in NYABI village (BHA). Among the EC, 70% (28/40) were male and 37% (15/40) were ≤15 years old. Three SC of rabies were recorded. CFR was 100% (3/3), with one post-mortem CC. All EC were bitten by dogs (100%) of which, 97, 5% (39/40) was not vaccinated. Review of canine vaccination records in BHA revealed that dogs were unvaccinated for rabies. A rabies awareness campaign was done in community and hospital during a week. Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) was administered to 76% (29/38) of EC and all dogs were vaccinated in BHA. No further EC was recorded in BHA later on.

Rabies was confirmed in the BHA and likely spread from the local unvaccinated dogs. PEP with sensitization campaigns and dog vaccination, might be suitable control measures to limit the spread of this epizootic.

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