Addis Ababa, Attitude, Dog ownership, Knowledge, Rabies
The study was conducted from May 2003 to August 2003 in Addis Ababa with the objective of understanding the distribution of stray and owned dogs, dog ownership patterns and attitudes of people towards rabies and its prevention and control methods. A total of 2390 households were selected from 6 Sub Cities of Addis Ababa using stratified random sampling and were interviewed using structured questionnaires. From the total households interviewed, 969 (40.5%) of them were known to own one or more dogs, and the total number of owned dogs was estimated to be 225,078. Male dogs make up 1042 (78.4%) of the total owned dogs. Almost half of all the dogs 463 (47.8%) were tied only for some time during the day whereas 320 (33.1%) of the dogs were not tied at all and freely move from place to place and contribute to high dog bites in human beings and for the widespread occurrence of canine rabies in Addis Ababa. Six hundred fifty five (67.6%) of the interviewed households who owned dogs had a well fenced house. Most of the owned dogs 856 (88.4%) get their food from their owners and only 321 (33.3%) of the owners reported that they let their dogs to be vaccinated while the majority of the owners 644 (66.5%) do not let their dogs vaccinated regularly. A significant proportion of the interviewed households 2,323 (97.2%), (P < 0.05) indicated that they have the knowledge that dogs, cats and other animals can transmit rabies to humans and 1,752 (73.4%) of the households replied that rabies can be transmitted through bite, scratch and lick to open wounds. Analysis of the list of 2400 post exposure human antirabies treatments recorded at the EHNRI Zoonoses Laboratory from February 2002 to October 2003 showed that the most common animals involved in biting people were dogs. A total of 2198 (91.6%) people were bitten by dogs during the same period and most of them, 2053 (85.5%) were bitten on their hands and legs. All the above data indicated the need for a strong and coordinated rabies control activities to be conducted in the city.