Conference abstract

Trends and spatial distribution of animal bite injuries and rabies deaths in Uganda, 2013-2015

Pan African Medical Journal - Conference Proceedings. 2017:6(16).20 Dec 2017.
doi: 10.11604/pamj-cp.2017.6.16.498

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Keywords: Animals, injuries, rabies, death, Uganda
Plenary

Trends and spatial distribution of animal bite injuries and rabies deaths in Uganda, 2013-2015

Ben Masiira1,&, Christine Kihembo1, Alex Riolexus Ario1

1Uganda Public Health Fellowship Program, Kampala, Uganda

&Corresponding author
Ben Masiira, Uganda Public Health Fellowship Program, Kampala, Uganda

Abstract

Introduction: rabies is one of the most deadly infectious diseases, with a case fatality rate approaching 100%. Despite availability of effective post exposure treatment, rabies still kills 50,000 to 60,000 people worldwide each year, majority in the developing world. There is paucity of information on burden and trends of rabies in developing countries to guide planning processes and rabies control strategies. We analyzed surveillance data on animal bite injuries, a proxy of rabies, to describe trends and geographical distribution of animal bites and deaths due to suspected rabies in Uganda. We described trends and geographical distribution of animal bite injuries and rabies suspected deaths in Uganda from 2013 to 2015.

Methods: we retrospectively analyzed health facility surveillance data collected from January 2013 to December 2015. We used line graphs to describe monthly trends and used logistical regression to test significance of observed trends at p < 0.05. We used maps to describe geographical distribution of rabies cases by district.

Results: a total of 55,592 cases of animal bites were reported during the study period of which 25% (n = 13,869) were in Central region, 15% (n = 8,488) in Eastern region, 38% (n = 21,239) in Northern region and 22% (n = 11,996) in Western region. Up to 59% of animal bite injuries were inflicted on males and 80% were persons aged above 5 years. The overall incidence of animal bites was 285 bites per 100,000 population in Northern region, 141 per 100,000 in Central region, 130 per 100,000 in Western region and 91 per 100,000 in Eastern region. Cases of animal bites increased significantly in all regions of the country (p < 0.001 in each of the regions). Between 2013 and 2015, a total of 148 deaths were attributed to rabies in the country, of which 43% (n = 64) were reported from Central region, 24% (n = 36) were from Northern region, 18% (n = 26) from Eastern region and 15% (n = 22) from Western region.

Conclusion: the increase in number of animal bite injuries implies that rabies remains an important public health challenge in Uganda which requires special attention at all levels of planning. There is need to strengthen surveillance and rabies prevention and control strategies to address this public health problem.