Educating children on how to avoid being bitten by dogs is a key step in preventing the spread of the deadly rabies virus.
Domestic dogs are the main transmitters of rabies to humans, but, through effective rabies vaccination of dogs, the majority of human rabies cases could be easily prevented. The virus is spread through the saliva of infected animals, either when they bite, or when their saliva comes into contact with an open wound or the eyes, nose or mouth of an individual through licking. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tens of thousands of people die as a result of rabies infections each year, mostly in rural communities of Africa and Asia.
Advanced Symptoms In Untreated Patients Include:
Hydrophobia (difficulty in swallowing and panic when presented with liquids to drink, resulting in an inability to quench thirst)
Paralysis, which ultimately leads to coma and death.
One Health Approach
To this end, the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) and the programme managers of two Netcare Trauma Injury Prevention Programmes have teamed up to develop a fun-filled yet informative booklet endorsed by the WHO. “The booklet was developed to teach children how to interact with dogs and read their body language in order to avoid being bitten,” says Netcare Milpark Hospital trauma programme manager, Rene Grobler.
“Young children are typically the ones most impacted by rabies, as their actions around dogs can often lead to dog bites,” says PARACON organising committee member, Terence Scott. PARACON is the Pan-African Rabies Control Network, unified under the umbrella of GARC.
Grobler says, “The booklet was designed to be interactive, with educational games and pictures to facilitate easy learning.” Amanda Klette, Netcare Union Hospital trauma programme manager, adds, “The graphics will also help illiterate individuals to understand the core concepts contained in the booklet. The booklet includes a certificate to serve as a reminder of these concepts.”
A partnership between GARC and Netcare for the development of the educational booklet epitomises a ‘One Health’ approach towards rabies control and elimination. GARC provided the expertise with regards to rabies and dog bite prevention, whilst Netcare has the skills to target the correct audience most effectively. “The booklet reinforces the importance of seeking medical attention as soon as possible after an animal bite in order to improve one’s chances of survival – through post-exposure prophylaxis – in case of rabies exposure,” Scott says.
Where To Get The Booklet
An electronic version of the booklet will be freely available from www.rabiesalliance.org and www.theglenshopping.co.za. Additionally, a digital copy can be requested by emailing Netcare Trauma Injury Prevention Programme on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dog lazy bed available with purchases of Hills Science Diet or Ideal Balance. Visit your nearest participating practice or vet shop, or email email@example.com or call 0800 228 783.
SOURCE: MARTINA NICHOLSON ASSOCIATES (MNA) ON BEHALF OF NETCARE AND GARC
IMAGE: HILLS PET NUTRITION, MNA