6 Children Die at Korle-Bu Hospital

Salomey Appiah
08 October 2015
Graphic Newspaper


Six children died of rabies at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra from January to September this year.

The children, who were aged two to nine, died after they had been bitten by dogs and infected with rabies.

Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of rabid animals such as dogs.

A resident doctor at the Child Health Department, Dr Hilda Mantebea Boye, disclosed this to the Daily Graphic in an interview in Accra last Tuesday.

She said the hospital records indicated a significant increase in the disease over the last two years due to the increase in unvaccinated stray dogs.

 Increase in cases

About three and four cases were recorded in last year and two years ago respectively, she said, and added that“even though the number may seem small, for us it a worrying situation”.

Considering the fact that rabies is 100 per cent fatal, Dr Boye said, dog bites should not be taken lightly and vaccination for rabies should be initiated for victims of dog bites as soon as possible.

She further explained that the rise in rabies death was because many dog owners were negligent and irresponsible in taking good care of their pets.

“Dogs are supposed to be vaccinated within a certain period of time but because dog owners are not doing that and others are not taking full control of their dogs, there are lots of stray dogs, while those kept in the house are not vaccinated. Also, some dog owners present fake certificates in the event of their dog biting someone,” she stated.

 Report dog bites

That, she said, was dangerous because it was not easy to determine if a dog that had bitten somebody had rabies or not except through a certificate which was sometimes fabricated.

She added that what made the disease scary was the fact that rabies symptoms, which include hydrophobia, fever, headache and feeling unwell, took days or months to manifest after which the individual died within hours.

She, therefore, advised Ghanaians to report dog bites early to the hospital for the vaccination, which is supposed to be taken five times.

Dr Boye also advised that stray dogs be captured and restricted, and pet owners should take very good care of their pets.