This finding is contained in a report of the disease distribution in Botswana per district presented by the Director of Department of Veterinary Services Dr Letlhogile Modisa during the World Rabies Day commemoration in Maun last week.
During the commemoration, Dr Modisa said there has been an increase in rabies incidences in Selebi-Phikwe, Gantsi, Mahalapye, Shakawe and Maun in terms of distribution of positive cases by district and infected animal species.
He said Gantsi scored 12.07 percent for the disease relative frequency, Mahalapye 15. 52 percent, Maun 10.35 percent, Selibe Phikwe13.79 percent and Shakawe 12.07 percent in 2012 and he that there was not much change in the figures from the previous year. He said that the most affected animals in these centres included dogs, cats, cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, horses and wild hyenas.
Meanwhile Gaborone recorded only 3.45 percent from only two pets confirmed for rabies and Francistown 8.62 percent for four pets and one cow reported in 2012. The director, however, noted that the readings for other towns were insignificant.
Dr Modisa said a total of 142 brain specimens collected from various animals in 2012 suspected to have been infected with the virus causing rabies were submitted to the veterinary laboratory out of which 58 specimens were confirmed positive.
In 2011, 116 specimens were collected and tested by DVS of which 49 specimens were confirmed positive. In his speech which was read in absentia, the Minister of Agriculture Christian De Graaff noted that rabies is one of the oldest and deadliest diseases known to mankind that affects mostly children because of their regular contact with dogs which are a global source of the disease. He said children are often unaware that dogs transmit rabies and may not tell their parents when a bite, lick or scratch has occurred from infected animals. De Graaff said although rabies is 100 percent preventable, it is estimated that 55,000 people are killed by it each year throughout the world of which 50 percent of the victims are children. De Graaff said free dogs' vaccination by DVS against the disease and avoidance of dogs and wild animals are some of the measures in the disease prevention.
This year World Rabies Day was held under the theme 'Rabies: understand it to defeat it.' De Graaff said the theme was chosen to recognise rabies fight and prevention efforts at national, regional and international levels.