From September 28 to October 15, the Ministry of Livestock will organize a free rabies vaccination campaign for pets across Cameroon. The campaign is launched to mark World Rabies Day, celebrated this year under the theme: "Rabies: All for one, one health for all". It is part of the government's efforts to eliminate human rabies of canine origin by 2030, by increasing awareness and information about the disease and encouraging vaccination to reduce the effects of this zoonosis in the country.
The campaign aims to immunize over 100,000 animals to reduce the risk of humans contracting rabies, a contagious and fatal disease transmitted to humans through the saliva of infected domestic or wild animals that were bitten, scratched, or licked the wounds of another infected animal. In Cameroon, health authorities claim that rabies remains a real public health problem. The disease is endemic, and dogs are the main vectors of rabies in humans, accounting for up to 99% of cases. In 2022, the Ministry of Livestock reported that "a few cases" of rabies had been detected out of the 4,000 dog bites recorded that year.
Data on the disease are, however, still patchy and certainly reflect very little of reality. Rabies is classified as the priority zoonosis under the National Program for the Prevention and Control of Emerging and Re-emerging Zoonoses (PNPLZER), and the chosen method of elimination combines mass dog vaccination campaigns and the promotion of canine welfare, combined with care for those exposed, public awareness and disease surveillance.
Rabies control in Cameroon is an integrated effort involving the departments responsible for animal health, human health, wildlife and forestry, the environment, and territorial administration. The country has a national rabies control strategy whose objective is in line with the global approach of "Zero human deaths from rabies by 2030".
Patricia Ngo Ngouem