Human rabies: Still a neglected preventable disease in Nigeria
Background/Objectives: Adequate surveillance and monitoring of dog bite incidents are veritable tools in the determination of the epidemiology of human rabies infections. There is a paucity of data with regards to rabies in Nigeria. Hence, this study was aimed at describing the pattern and outcomes of dog bites and rabies infections among patients presenting to University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku‑Ozalla, Enugu.
Subjects and Methods: This was a 10‑year (January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2013) observational retrospective study. Case definition of rabies was based on ICD10 criteria, while relevant clinical data were retrieved from individual folders of registered victims using a semi‑structured questionnaire. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 17.0 while the level of statistical significance was set at P < 0.05.
Results: A total of 149 cases of dog bites were reported during the period under review, of which 6 (4.0%) had confirmed rabies. Ninety‑six (64.4%) cases presented more than 24 h after the bites. Majority of the offending dogs were stray dogs 86 (57.7%), which attacked their victims unprovoked, in 54.6% of cases. Furthermore, most of the bites were from dogs with unknown history of rabies vaccination 72 (52.3%), while the case fatality rate was 100%.
Conclusions: All the cases of rabies reported were as a result of bites from stray dogs with unknown history of rabies vaccinations, and the outcome was 100% fatality in all cases. Efforts should be made to create and strengthen awareness campaigns on control of rabies infections through responsible dog ownership including their regular vaccinations as well as provision and use of prompt postexposure prophylaxis in human cases of dog bites at all levels of health care.
Key words: Dog bites, Nigeria, pattern, rabies