A ProMED-mail post
Date: Sun 21 Oct 2012
Source: Allghana News [edited]
5 children admitted at the Koforidua Regional Hospital with dog bites between April and October  have died of rabies virus infection. The children, whose ages ranges between 5 and 7 years, died between 9 hours and 48 hours after admission to the hospital. Apart from one who hails from Koforidua, the rest were referred to the hospital from Obo Kwahu, Suhum, Asamankese, and the Atua Government Hospital near Krobo Odumase.
Commenting on the issue, the Acting Medical Superintendent of the Hospital, Dr Kwame Anim Boamah called on the Municipal and District Assemblies in the Eastern Region to collaborate with the Veterinary Services to embark on mass immunization of dogs and cats in the region against rabies to help reduce the incidence of rabies in the region. He called on the Ghana Education Service to educate school children about the disease to report any case of dog bite for early treatment. Dr Boamah also called on parents to report any dog bite [suffered by] their children [and to bring them] to the nearest health centre for early treatment.
Dr Emmanuel Amoah, the head of the Paediatrics Department of the hospital, said that rabies affects the nervous system, and once one contracts the disease, the survival rate is almost nil. He called for the provision of more anti-rabies vaccines at hospitals and clinics in the region to help save people who report with dog bites to the hospitals early enough for appropriate treatment.
The rapid deaths of those children admitted to hospital for treatment after receiving dog bites suggest inadequate surveillance and lack of awareness of the severity of rabies virus infection and the need for rapid reaction.