38.1.4  Prevention of rabies

Since very few people survive after they develop symptoms of rabies, prevention is the best alternative. The main prevention measures against rabies are aimed at controlling the animals that transmit the virus, educating the community on how to protect themselves from dog bites, and what action to take if they are bitten. Your roles as a Health Extension Practitioner are to contribute to a comprehensive rabies control programme by carrying out the following activities:

  • Educate the owners of dogs and the public on the importance of restricting the activity of their dogs.
  • People should be educated that they must be careful handling or approaching strange-acting dogs and other canines. Warn parents that their children are particularly at risk.
  • If a registration and immunization programme is available in your locality, register and immunize with anti-rabies vaccine any dog that owners want to keep.
  • All unwanted dogs should be killed to reduce the population of animals living wild; maintain active searching for rabid dogs and take measures to ensure that they are killed.
  • Detain and clinically observe for 10 days any healthy-appearing dog known to have bitten a person, if the owner wants to keep the animal. Unwanted dogs and dogs developing suspicious signs of rabies should be destroyed immediately.
  • Give first aid for any dog bite and immediately refer the patient to the nearby health centre for post-exposure prophylaxis.

38.1.3  First aid and post-exposure prophylaxis for rabies

38.2  Taeniasis (tapeworm infestation)