Dog Meat Trade - Nigeria - Rampant - Rabies Infested;
A study of Abia State in the south-eastern part of Nigeria whose native population consumes dog meat as part of the traditional diet, detected the rabies virus in the saliva and brain tissue of 5% of slaughtered dogs, the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) reported recently.
The study, by Nigerian researchers published in ISRN Veterinary Science, was carried out in eight dogs slaughtering outlets within four Local Government Areas of the State for the determination of rabies antigen in the saliva and brain of apparently healthy dogs slaughtered for human consumption.
What they found was after testing (The saliva was subjected to rapid immune-chromatographic test (RICT) while direct fluorescent antibody test (DFAT) was carried out on the brain samples) samples of apparently healthy dogs slaughtered for human consumption, 5% tested positive for rabies antigen with the use of both tests.
None of the butchers in this study were previously vaccinated against rabies, although majority of them (94.7%) were previously bitten during the course of slaughtering. Following dog bite, majority of the butchers sought traditional method of treatment ( using traditional leaves and teethes of the offending dog, which is burnt to aches, mixed with native gin; part is given to the victim to drink and vomit while the rest is applied at the site of bite), as against proper medical care, a practice which will further complicate the problem as none of the methods used have been tested to be effective.
The GARC reports, because dog meat is habitually consumed, and local butchers are unable to screen out infected animals and remove them from the food supply, the handling of infected dog meat may have implications on regional public health.
There is potential for virus transfer if fluids or nervous tissues of infected animals come into contact with breaks in the skin before the meat is cooked.
The researchers conclude that the presence of rabies in apparently healthy dogs slaughtered for human consumption in Abia State signifying its endemicity as it is in other states where studies have been conducted. This study also revealed the practices of dog slaughtering as a possible source of exposure to dog meat processors in Abia State. Hence mass enlightenment program for dog meat processors, consumers, and children in the state is highly recommended.
Rabies is a viral disease that is transmitted through the saliva or tissues from the nervous system from an infected mammal to another mammal.
Rabies is a zoonotic disease. Zoonotic diseases can pass between species. Bird flu and swine flu are other zoonotic diseases.
The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system causing severely distressing neurological symptoms before causing the victim to die.
Rabies is the deadliest disease on earth with a 99.9% fatality rate.
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