Health experts in the Ashanti Region have cautioned the public against killing suspected rabid dogs for food.
Bosomtwe District Director of Health, Dr Moses Barima Djamety, says killing the infected dogs for food hampers investigation into rabid cases.
Dog bite in the Bosom District has become worrisome, with increased cases.
Thirty-five incidents of dog bite have been recorded as at the end of last month when reported cases for the whole of 2016 stood at 72.
Last Wednesday, 15-year-old Eric Kojo Gbedievi, was bitten by his dog at Pramso in the Bosomtwe District of the Ashanti Region.
The dog left what Eric's parents thought was minor scratches, however, the bite almost took the teenage boy's life.
“The dog refused to eat for three days but we didn’t pay attention to what it meant. In one of the days, immediately, I came home from school, the dog became aggressive and bit me on my thigh” he narrates.
Eric is currently receiving treatment and his condition has been stable.
But unlike Eric, five-year-old Kelvin Badu suffered deep cuts on his calf and thigh and knee as a rabid dog almost tore his skin off.
Kelvin had been sent to a compound house where the sick dog was and reaching the house, the dog was unusually aggressive but before anyone could help, the dog had attacked him.
“We were in the room at the time so I came out, captured the dog and put it back into its cage. After a while, we realised it had destroyed the cage from within and died in the process”, an eye-witness narrated.
Health officials have told residents that when dogs become too aggressive or too quiet, they must alert them.
“The dog was supposed to be quarantined but it happened that they had given the dog to someone who didn’t know the history of the dog and they have eaten it,” Dr Barima said about the suspected rabid dog that bit little Kelvin.
He says that makes it impossible to have saliva samples to run tests in the laboratory.
“In this case, fortunately, we had the head of the dog for testing for rabies but the issue is that the head of the dog is roasted which could. The head of the dog has been submitted to the veterinary service and we are waiting for the results,” he said.
Thirty-one-year-old father of Kelvin, Kwaku Manu, keeps a close eye on his son as he struggles to walk.
“Since Wednesday, my son has not been to school because he unable to walk now," he laments.
He observes that most of the time when people are bitten by dogs, they don’t report it, they apply kola nut and other concoction on it which makes the wound infected and worse off.
“To address the issue of rabies, it is a legal requirement to vaccinate dogs annually. Every dog owner must comply,” he reiterates.
He adds: "It is cheaper because yearly, it will take you about 10 cedis to vaccinate a dog but when the dog gets rabies and bites somebody the human vaccine will cost about 350 cedis or more. If any person is bitten by a dog, please do not kill the dog nobody should eat the dog, allow the veterinary officers to do their job”.
The district office is however excited that following a recent campaign in the district, many people have begun reporting dog bites.