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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1987;81(2):268-72.

Epidemiology of rabies in northern Nigeria.


Data on the rabies situation in Kaduna State, in northern Nigeria, were obtained by questionnaire and interview with all Divisional Veterinary Officers, physicians, hospital superintendents, village and hamlet heads or chiefs in various local government areas. All persons reporting animal bites to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, were also interviewed. Direct immunofluorescence staining, using both the regular conjugated anti-rabies globulin and a conjugated monoclonal antibody battery to lyssaviruses, was performed on brain samples from suspect animals sent to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. There were more dogs, and consequently more rabies outbreaks, in the southern part of the state than in the north; this did not appear to be associated with the religious beliefs of the local population. There seems to be a cyclic pattern of distribution of the outbreaks. Most dogs involved in bites had identifiable owners (74.5%), were older than one year (70.0%), and were not vaccinated (75.5%). Male children (under 10 years) were the high risk group for dog bites. Rabies cases seemed to cluster around April and September, corresponding to breeding seasons for dogs in Zaria. All the isolates checked by conjugated monoclonal antibodies for lyssaviruses were found to be rabies. Enforcing leash laws, vaccination of dogs against rabies especially before the breeding seasons, and control of stray and free-roaming dogs would reduce the incidence of rabies in Kaduna State.

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