Masvingo residents are calling for a dog tie up order as the city is witnessing a surge in dog bites, coupled by the shortage of rabies vaccines in council clinics.
Information obtained from the Ministry of Health and Child Care officials in Masvingo indicated that the city has already recorded at least 10 reported dog bites for this month alone.
Most of the victims are minor children who are attacked by dogs which freely roam the streets.
The numbers might be higher as some dog attack cases go unreported.
No Rabies Vaccines
However, it is the none availability of anti-rabies vaccines in council clinics which has become a cause of concern amongst residents.
A nurse at one of the council clinics said they refer all dog bite cases to Masvingo provincial hospital for treatment.
“We do not treat dog bites what we do is refer the patient to Masvingo hospital since we do not have rabies vaccines,” said the nurse who talked on condition of anonymity.
The situation is still the same at Masvingo provincial hospital as the province’s sole medical referral center also has no rabies doses.
“When a patient comes after a dog bite we do not have the rabies doses in stock at the moment and we advise the affected to go and purchase the doses at local pharmacies and return with the doses for us to administer on the patient, ” said a senior nurse at the institution.
A single dose of rabies vaccines is going for US$35 and a patient may require a minimum of two doses after being exposed to dog bites.
Vaccination Programs Gone
In the past the local authority would announce dog tie up order, demanding that dog owners put their pets on leash when moving outside their premises or to safely secure the dogs at their premises.
During the order, council in partnership with the Veterinary Services and SPCA would move around neighbourhoods and shoot down all stray dogs that will be roaming the streets while also demanding vaccination records from dog owners.
The practice seems to have died a natural death due to council reluctance while dog dog vaccinaction programs in the city are no longer being done.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of rabid animals, like dogs and monkeys.
The rabies virus infects the central nervous system of mammals, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death, if not treated when one is exposed.