Epidemiology of animal bites and other potential rabies exposures and anti-rabies vaccine utilization in a rural area in Southern Ethiopia
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Infectious Diseases Unit, Hospital General Universitario de Elche, Alicante, Spain
Gambo General Rural Hospital, Shashemane, Ethiopia
Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University Miguel Hernández, Alicante, Spain
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2015;22(1):76–79
The presented report describes the epidemiology of potential rabies exposures and examines the utilization of anti-rabies vaccine in a rural area of Ethiopia during a period of 43 months. A total of 683 persons (51.1% females, 73% children) with animal- related bites were included in the retrospective, registry-based study. The most common site of exposure was the leg (66.8%). In children under 8 years of age the face was more often involved than in adults (9.5% vs. 4.8%; p=0.03). The main type of exposure was a bite with bleeding (66.3%) followed by contamination of mucous membranes with saliva (19.7%). The primary sources were dogs (93.4%) followed by cats (2.6%). Children under 15 years were more likely to be exposed to dogs (94.9%) than adults (88.7%) (p=0.01). The most common way of coming in contact with animals was ‘walking by’ (83.9%). Children came in contact with animals while ‘playing with’ (10.7%) more often than adults (1.1%) (p<0.001). All the patients received an anti-rabies nervous-tissue vaccine, 99% of whom completed the vaccination course. Animal bites continue to be a problem in rural Ethiopia, mainly among children. Efforts to protect children against animal bites must be of paramount importance in preventing rabies in this population.
The authors express their thanks to the health care staff at the GRH for their assistance in attending the patients and the collection of data.
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