DOG ECOLOGY AND THE EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDIES OF CANINE RABIES IN LOKOJA, KOGI STATE, NIGERIA

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DOG ECOLOGY AND THE EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDIES OF CANINE RABIES IN LOKOJA, KOGI STATE, NIGERIA

Abstract:

Rabies is a viral zoonotic disease which affects both humans and animals. It is worldwide in distribution and its control remains a public health challenge. There is paucity of information on the epidemiology and public health significance of canine rabies in Lokoja, hence the need for a study of canine rabies and its public health implications in the city and environs. A descriptive and cross sectional study was set up to investigate dog ecology, examine factors/circumstances associated with dog bites and vaccination of dogs and also to assess knowledge, attitude and practices of residents of Lokoja. The study also investigated the presence of rabies antigen in the brain tissues of dogs slaughtered for human consumption in Lokoja. The dog ecological studies revealed that 778 dogs were counted in the direct street count. There were 444 (57.0%) male dogs and females were 334 (43%), the male female ratio was 1.33:1. While in the compound survey a total of 295 dogs were counted,males accounted for 180 while the females were 115, and are in a ratio of 1.6:1. Information was obtained from the State Veterinary Clinic and a Private Veterinary Clinic, all in Lokoja on dog bite cases and victims involved and dog vaccination records covering a period of 11 years (2003-2013). Out of 95 human dog bite cases, 46(48.4%) were in persons between 10-19 years of age, of which 57(60%) were males and 38(40%) were females. Anatomical location of bites indicated higher frequency on the legs (48%) than other parts of the body. Male dogs had a higher frequency of anti-rabies vaccination (57%) compared to females (43%) The highest rate of vaccination in dogs was within the ages of 3-12 months in both the Government clinic and the private Veterinary Clinic. There is an adequate knowledge about rabies among the residents of Lokoja, outof 400 respondents, 310(77.5%) knew the source of rabies in Nigeria, 273(68.3%) were aware that it was unlawful not to vaccinate dogs against rabies, 279(69.8%) indicated that vii vaccination of dogs should be repeated yearly, 321(80.3%) knew that keeping dogs that were not vaccinated against rabies was dangerous to human health. Majority of the respondents 311(77.8%) disagreed that children should be allowed to play with dogs. The age group 20-30 years had highest acceptable knowledge (76.7%) scores while the age >40 had the highest practice scores of 84(94.4%). Also, civil servants had the highest practice scores of 140 (92.7%) than other occupational categories. Respondents with secondary and tertiary education had significantly higher acceptable attitude (88.9%) and practice (50.4%) scores towards rabies than respondents with non-formal and primary education (p>0.05). Rabies antigen was detected in 11(5.28%) out of 208 brain samples examined by fluorescent antibody technique. The findings in this study indicate that frequent dog bites, insufficient vaccination coverage,and presence of rabies antigen in dogs slaughtered for human consumption were suggestive of high public health risk of rabies to residents of Lokoja, Kogi state and thus requires strategic intervention

DOG ECOLOGY AND THE EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDIES OF CANINE RABIES IN LOKOJA, KOGI STATE, NIGERIA

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