THE Ministry of Health and Child Care has revealed that almost 11 000 people were bitten by dogs in the first six months of this year.
The shocking statistics were posted on the ministrya��s official twitter account recently.
A tweet on the ministrya��s twitter account read: a�?A total of 586 cases of dog bites were reported during the week ending 10 June 2018. Of these cases, 356 were bitten by dogs with unknown vaccination status, 119 by unvaccinated dogs and 111 by vaccinated dogs.a�?
According to the Ministry, Midlands Province and Mashonaland East Province recorded the highest numbers of dog bites, with 100 and 91 cases recorded respectively.
a�?The provinces which reported the highest number of cases were Midlands Province (100) and Mashonaland East Province (91). The cumulative figures for dog bites are 10 978 cases,a�? read the tweet.
No new suspected rabies cases were reported during the past week, although four people have died in cases of suspected rabies after suffering from dog bites since January.
The ministry urged people to take their dogs for vaccination against rabies at timely intervals and to ensure that dogs were always confined in homes or be on a leash when being led in the streets.
Last month, a total of 450 cases of dog bites were reported during the week ending 13 May 2018. Of these cases, 283 were bitten by dogs with unknown vaccination status, 87 were bitten by unvaccinated dogs and 80 were bitten by vaccinated dogs.
Two new suspected rabies cases which culminated in two deaths were reported in the week ending 13 May 2018. Murehwa and Chivi both reported one case and a death. The cumulative figures for suspected rabies are five cases and four deaths.
Bulawayo City Council (BCC) recently said it was concerned with the high cases of dog bites which were exposing residents to rabies as some of the dogs were not vaccinated.
Responding to questions from B-Metro recently, BCCa��s senior public relations officer Nesisa Mpofu said most dog owners were failing to take care of their pets.
a�?A significant number of dog owners are failing to take good care of their dogs hence the dogs stray out of the premises. In other instances, there are people who want to own dogs but their premises are not secure, leading to dogs straying outside where they harass people passing by,a�? said Mrs Mpofu.
She said council was encouraging residents who are attacked by dogs to get anti-rabies vaccination.
She said to curb the problem, council will continue educating dog owners on the importance of abiding by the citya��s by-laws.
Mrs Mpofu also said stray dogs would be shot.
a�?The shooting of stray dogs has been satisfactory as it helps in the reduction of the stray dog population in the city. In the last year programme, 582 stray dogs were put down. Dog owners are being educated to keep their dogs within secure premises and to also vaccinate the dogs as is required in terms of the Bulawayo (Dog Licensing and Control) By-laws,a�? she said.