03-17-2009, 04:13 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Rabies Killed 93 Children in Angola
A severe rabies outbreak in Luanda, the capital of Angola, has killed at least 93 children in three months, according to the United Nations.
Because of a shortage of vaccines, doctors were unable to save any of the children taken to the city�s main pediatric hospital, the hospital�s chief, Dr. Luis Bernardino, told the United Nations� Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. In any case, many of the children were brought in too late to save, he added.
Rabies deaths in Luanda, where more than four million people are jammed into vast slums, may actually be much higher; the count was based on one hospital.
Roaming packs of dogs have been blamed. Even after deaths began last year, the city did little, Dr. Bernardino said, because it has no service to vaccinate dogs. However, recent news reports from Angola have been contradictory. One said thousands of dogs had been rounded up for vaccination, tested and released if they were rabies-free � but that can be determined only after the dog has died, by taking a brain sample.
There has been a global shortage of human rabies vaccine since 2007, when Sanofi Pasteur began renovating a factory. Unexpected outbreaks drained a rival supplier, and a Chinese maker has had quality problems.
Rabies vaccine and immunoglobulin also cost about $50 per treatment, a United Nations rabies expert said. Angola is one of the world�s poorest countries, and about a quarter of all children die before age 5.