Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sierra Leone contains rabies outbreak

A rabies outbreak which killed over 100 people last year in Sierra Leone's capital Freetown last year has been contained, health authorities said Friday.

A senior health worker attributed the fall in rabies cases to a massive vaccination campaign carried out by veterinary officials.

Doctors at the main referral Connaught Hospital are worried about a lack of rabies antidotes to combat dog bites.

The hospital has had to rely heavily on anti-rabies drug handouts from international agencies such as the World Health Organization and the Red Cross "to bail us out otherwise patients would die."

The drugs are available at private clinics and pharmacies but, at between 20 and 30 dollars a dose, they are far beyond the reach of many Sierra Leoneans in one of the poorest countries in the world.