Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Rabies in West Africa (RIWA) (Madina, 2017)


Household exposure and animal-bite surveillance following human rabies detection in Southern Ghana

Cite this: Pan African Medical Journal - Conference Proceedings. Dec 2017; 5(5): 6. doi:10.11604/pamj.cp.2017.5.6.526

Submitted: 11 Dec 17   Accepted: 11 Dec 17   Published: 13 Dec 17

Key words: Human rabies, investigation, post-exposure prophylaxis, animal-bite surveillance, Ghana

© Kofi Afakye et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Corresponding author: Kofi Afakye, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana (

This abstract is published as part of the proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Rabies in West Africa (RIWA)(GHANA, )

Household exposure and animal-bite surveillance following human rabies detection in Southern Ghana

Kofi Afakye1,2,&, Ernest Kenu3, Kofi Nyarko1,4, Sherry Johnson1,2, Florence Wongnaah5, George Bonsu4


1Ghana Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme, Accra, Ghana, 2School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana, 3School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana, 4Ghana Health Service, Accra, Ghana, 5Eastern Regional Hospital, Koforidua, Ghana



&Corresponding author
Kofi Afakye, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana




Introduction: rabies remains a neglected tropical zoonotic disease with 100% case fatality rate and estimated 6,000 global mortality annually, yet vaccine preventable. In Ghana, rabies outbreaks receive poor response. We investigated rabies in a 5 year old boy to identify the source of the infection, other exposed persons for post-exposure prophylaxis and describe animal-bite surveillance in Manya Krobo District, Ghana.


Methods: we actively searched for cases and exposures by interviewing household members of the victim, schoolmates, and health professionals using WHO case definition, interview guide and checklists. We reviewed health and veterinary records and reports, and interviewed stakeholders. Descriptive data analyses were carried out and presented using tables and charts. Recorded responses were transcribed into thematic area for further analysis.


Results: the child had dog-bite at the waist, developed hyperactivity, hydrophobia and hyperventilation 2 months later. The child was hospitalized and died from respiratory failure on the third day. Thirty-three persons were exposed to rabies. Female were 66%, age group 5 - 15 years and 30 - 59 year were 33.3% and 39.4% respectively. The third (11/33) was category II exposure by WHO classification and was recommended for PEP. Surveillance records showed 92 persons with animal bites for the past 12 months. Half were females, age group 5 - 14 years and 18 - 59 years were 27% and 34% respectively. Surveillance data quality was poor.


Conclusion: rabies remains public health burden in Ghana with domestic dogs as reservoir of virus. Children are vulnerable to animal bites and secondary exposures. Health education on rabies should be intensified, and robust animal-bite surveillance system put in place.



















The 2nd International Conference on Rabies in West Africa (RIWA) (Madina)

Rabies in West Africa, a forum to coordinate regular meeting among governments and stakeholders in one-health, was inaugurated in December, 2012 to link Anglophone and Francophone West African countries in the surveillance and control of rabies. It aims to disseminate progress reports on rabies surveillance and control activities in West Africa. Its first conference was jointly sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria and the University of Ibadan Centre for Control and Prevention of Zoonoses. The 2nd conference was held concurrently with the 20th Congress of the Ghana Veterinary Medical Association. The scientific programme included 2 lead papers, 9 symposia and a roundtable discussion. The presented papers which focused on: (i) knowledge, attitude and practices among native community stakeholders; (ii) clinical detection and outbreak investigations; (iii) national laboratory diagnostic activities and vaccination records; (iv) wildlife infection study; and (v) spatial or spatio-temporal distribution of dog bite victims with suspected, probable and confirmed rabies exposures from three countries namely, Ghana (7); Nigeria (4) and Liberia (1). The conference gave consensus report that rabies has remained a neglected disease in West Africa and therefore deserves one-health approach for its control and prevention alongside a stepwise eradication in domestic dogs and humans.

Country: GHANA

Dates: 28 Oct 14 - 31 Oct 14

Venue: Institute of Local Government Studies

Organizers: The Society for Rabies in West Africa


Contact person: Professor Albert B. Ogunkoya (