Long term trends and spatial distribution of animal bite injuries and deaths due to human rabies infection in Uganda, 2001-2015
Matovu, Joseph K. B.
Ario, Alex Riolexus
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Background In the absence of accurate data on trends and the burden of human rabies infection in developing countries, animal bite injuries provide useful information to bridge that gap. Rabies is one of the most deadly infectious diseases, with a case fatality rate approaching 100%. Despite availability of effective prevention and control strategies, rabies still kills 50,000 to 60,000 people worldwide annually, the majority of whom are in the developing world. We describe trends and geographical distribution of animal bite injuries (a proxy of potential exposure to rabies) and deaths due to suspected human rabies in Uganda from 2001 to 2015. Methods We used 2001±2015 surveillance data on suspected animal bite injuries, collected from health facilities in Uganda. To describe annual trends, line graphs were used and linear regression tested significance of observed trends at P<0.05. We used maps to describe geographical distribution of animal bites by district. Results A total of 208,720 cases of animal bite injuries were reported. Of these, 27% were in central, 22% in Eastern, 27% in Northern and 23% in Western regions. Out of 48,720 animal bites between 2013 and 2015, 59% were suffered by males and 81% were persons aged above 5 years. Between 2001 and 2015, the overall incidence (per 100,000 population) of animal bites was 58 in Uganda, 76 in Northern, 58 in Central, 53 in Western and 50 in Eastern region. From 2001 to 2015, the annual incidence (per 100,000 population) increased from 21 to 47 (P = 0.02) in Central, 27 to 34 (P = 0.04) in Eastern, 23 to 70 (P = 0.01) in Northern and 16 to 46 (P = 0.001) in Western region. A total of 486 suspected human rabies deaths were reported, of which 29% were reported from Eastern, 28% from Central, 27% from Northern and 17% from Western region. Conclusion Animal bite injuries, a potential exposure to rabies infection, and mortality attributed to rabies infection are public health challenges affecting all regions of Uganda. Eliminating rabies requires strengthening of rabies prevention and control strategies at all levels of the health sector. These strategies should utilize the ªOne Healthº approach with strategic focus on strengthening rabies surveillance, controlling rabies in dogs and ensuring availability of post exposure prophylaxis at lower health facilities.
Use this URI to cite this item:https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11951/573
- School of Medicine