Level and pattern of human rabies and dog bites in Techiman Municipality in the Middle Belt of Ghana: a six year retrospective records review
Introduction: Rabies is a viral zoonotic disease that is transmitted primarily by bites from rabid dogs and has the highest case fatality rate of most infectious diseases in humans. We described a 6-year trend of rabies and dog bites in a peri-urban district in Ghana. Methods: A record review was conducted in the health facilities in Techiman to identify all human rabies and dog bite cases reported from January 2011 to December 2016. Rabies and dog bite data were extracted from health facilities records. Vaccination status of implicated dogs was extracted from the veterinary records at the Techiman Disease Investigation Farm. Data were summarized using proportions and presented using tables, charts and figures. Results: Thirteen (13) cases of human rabies were recorded from 2011 to 2016. Complete data was available for 10 cases. Median age of rabies victims was 30 (range 3-80 years). A majority were males (8 representing 61.5%). Eight cases came from rural farming communities, 8 had a previous history of dog bite ranging from two weeks to five months before the onset of rabies symptoms and one reported with non-bite rabies. Case fatality was 100%. A total of 680 dog bites were reported by health facilities. About 50.3% (342) of the victims were males, a majority of bites (47.9%) occurred among children aged 1-15 years. Positive rabies cases among offending dogs ranged from 3.3% in 2016 to 17.6% in 2014. Conclusion: Mass vaccination of dogs and provision of post-exposure vaccination are needed to reduce rabies transmission.