Risk factors, knowledge, awareness and management of rabies in Lamwo district-northern Uganda
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The rabies incidence is higher in Lamwo district than the neighboring district. High numbers of dogs, poor rabies management practices, difficulties in accessing vaccine for prophylaxis and not adequately available in the facilities, poor road network connectivity to the health centers and lack of sensitization on the rabies. However, such information is limited in the rural communities. The cross sectional studies aimed to identify the potential risk factors associated with rabies disease outbreak in the study area (Lamwo District), to assess the level of knowledge/awareness on rabies disease, to know the attitude of the people on rabies disease, and to identify the management practices on rabies disease in the study areas. Rabies disease is a zoonotic viral disease under genus Lyssa virus family Rhabdoviridae and it can be prevented by avoiding contact with rabid animals and by immediate post exposure treatment. The study area was chosen based on the prevalence rate of the disease cases reported in the district referral Hospital. The methodology used were; retrieve data from the referral hospital (OPD Department), Group Discussions and Questionnaire that was administered to commonly affected communities in the studied areas of Lokung Sub County and Padibe Town Council respectively. The study established that majority of the communities (95%) are aware of the rabies disease and 5% do not know anything about the disease. The sources of the information regarding the disease were got mainly from the Veterinarians, radio stations, Local leaders and from the friends/neighbors. Rabies is among the biggest public health threat in Uganda with the cases increasing annually. There is need for active surveillance, follow up of people bitten by animals and mass dog vaccinations should be the priority in order to alleviate this zoonotic threat in our country Uganda. A good rabies management practices like regular dogs‟ vaccination, avoiding hunting for wild game meat and immediate reporting cases of animal bites to the relevant authority. These can help to alleviate the disease burden in the study areas and Uganda at large.