Detection of Rabies Antigen in the Brain Tissues of Apparetly Healthy Dogs Slaughteres in Ogoja - Cross River State, Nigeria
Rabies is a serious public health hazard and recently outbreaks of the disease have been reported in three local government areas in Cross River State. Detection of rabies antigen in the brain tissues of apparently healthy dogs indicates the presence of rabies virus and this is a significant factor in the transmission and spread of the disease. A cross sectional study was set up to investigate the presence of rabies antigen in the brain tissues of dogs slaughtered for human consumption in Ogoja. The results showed that out of 177 brain samples tested by Fluorescent Antibody Technique, 6(3.39%) were positive for rabies antigen. The rate of infection was higher in females 5(6.33%) than in males 1(1.02%). All the positive samples were from adult dogs. Observations during sampling revealed that processors of dog meat were not wearing protective clothings and had no pre or post exposure prophylaxis against rabies. These findings imply that those involved in handling and processing of dog meat are greatly at risk of exposure to rabies either from bite by these dogs or from infected nervous tissues or saliva that may accidentally contaminate open wounds or bruises and even intact mucous membrane (oral and ocular) during dog meat processing. Therefore public health intervention is required to create awareness about the dangers of the disease.
Key words: Rabies antigen, slaughtered dogs, Ogoja, Nigeria.