Published Date: 2010-04-08 17:00:03
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Rabies, canine, human - Ghana: (BO)
Archive Number: 20100408.1133
RABIES, CANINE, HUMAN - GHANA: (BONGO)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Mon 5 Apr 2010
Source: Ghana web [edited]
The increase in consumption of dog heads in the Bongo District is
said to be hampering research efforts into rabies cases reported at
the district hospital in the area. Dogs suspected to carry rabies,
popularly known as "mad dogs" among the people, are killed and eaten,
including the heads that are usually the part that is examined to
determine the presence of rabies.
The consumption of the dog meat has gone up in recent times in the
district, with residents now desiring it during their leisure times.
Dog meat is usually not used in preparing meals at home because of
the belief that not everyone takes the meat.
This was made known on Monday [5 Apr 2010], when Dr Vivian Brusset
Cisneros, a Cuban doctor, presented a paper on the epidemiology of
rabies in the Bongo Hospital at the 11th Regional Scientific Workshop
between Ghanaian doctors and their Cuban counterparts in the Upper East Region.
She said the practice hindered effective research into arriving at
conclusive decisions on suspected rabies-related deaths. She said so
far the hospital has recorded about 101 suspected rabies cases, of
which 47 have been treated and discharged with 5 people losing their lives.
Dr Cisneros indicated that in December last year , 19 dog bites
were recorded and said that the majority of the reported cases came
from Namoo, a frontier with Burkina Faso and Bongo central. She said
that a dog census conducted put the number in the Bongo District at
8217, with only 1843 of them vaccinated against rabies. Dr Cisneros
said that if the rabies scare in the area is to be contained, then
dog owners should vaccinate their dogs.
The Regional Director of Health Service, Dr John Koku Awoonor
Williams, called for a strong surveillance system at the district
level to check outbreaks of all kinds of diseases. He said the idea
about sending data to the Regional Directorate from the district
level, without analyzing them, slowed down the alarm system [for]
[Previously in 2009, it was reported (see ProMED-mail reference
below) that: "The people of Bongo are living in fear now with every
passing moment and demand the immediate supply of anti-rabies
vaccines for the treatment of infected persons. They are also calling
on the veterinary division of the Ministry of Agriculture to, as a
matter of urgency, take steps to vaccinate all dogs and possibly cats
to prevent further spread of the disease."
It is difficult from the present report to estimate the extent of the
problem, but there appears to have been human cases (5 fatalities out
of a possible 47 cases presenting for post-exposure prophylaxis). It
is similarly difficult to estimate the extent of the diagnostic
problem. Perhaps the dearth of canine heads is no more than an
original bureaucratic excuse for inactivity.
A map showing the location of Bongo in the upper east district of
Ghana, bordering with Burkina Faso to the north, can be accessed at:
The HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of Ghana is available at:
<http://healthmap.org/r/00IG>. - Mod.CP]