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RESEARCH PAPER
 
CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
 
 

Epidemiology of animal bites and other potential rabies exposures and anti-rabies vaccine utilization in a rural area in Southern Ethiopia

José M Ramos 1, 2  ,  
Ganamo Gudiso 2,  
Dejene Biru 2,  
Gamadi Fano 2,  
Dalu Tessema 2,  
Seble Balcha 2,  
 
1
Infectious Diseases Unit, Hospital General Universitario de Elche, Alicante, Spain
2
Gambo General Rural Hospital, Shashemane, Ethiopia
3
Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University Miguel Hernández, Alicante, Spain
Ann Agric Environ Med 2015;22(1):76–79
KEYWORDS:
ABSTRACT:
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.
eISSN:1898-2263
ISSN:1232-1966