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Published On: Sun, Mar 2nd, 2014

Five percent of Nigerian dog meat tainted with rabies: study

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.

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Image/CDC

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.

Human rabies is prevented by administration of rabies vaccine and rabies immune globulin.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page and the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show page.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. El Rastreador de Noticias » Zamboanga: 13 filipinos al hospital por comer carne de perro con rabia says:

    […] Study by Nigerian researchers […]

  2. Philippines: Infected dog meat results in rabies PEP for 13 in Zamboanga | World Wide Outbreak says:

    […] situation is not unique to the Philippines. Last year, a study by Nigerian researchers revealed that 5% of dog meat in the study area of Abia State was rabies […]

  3. Philippines: Infected dog meat results in rabies PEP for 13 in Zamboanga | Outbreak News Today says:

    […] situation is not unique to the Philippines. Last year, a study by Nigerian researchers revealed that 5% of dog meat in the study area of Abia State was rabies […]

  4. Elienai Martins says:

    How can? Third Millennium, the man live like in the stone age?! Enough is disgusting ….. Food is dogs ….? We are all here on earth sphere, an opportunity to move forward and not regress…..It is unfortunate that some countries have not yet woken THESE GOVERNMENTS FOR THE BIGGEST REALITY …..! E… WHEN YOUR DAY ALSO GET, THE SIDE OF THERE, WHERE IT ALL TAKES SHAPE …!

  5. who ares says:

    Animal Buddy Facebook – Continue attacking you Aussie wankers and we’ll star you in a new film “just yours”

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