Rabies is an infectious, viral disease, usually inoculable by dog bite and common to humans and other mammals. It is a major zoonosis but neglected especially in Africa. However, it is the most serious and feared zoonosis in the world because once declared it leads inevitably to death. The objective of this study was to search for rabies virus in biting dogs received in 2020 at the veterinary clinic of the National School of Livestock and Animal Health and behaviour at risk of zoonotic transmission of rabies in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. To do this, all bite dogs conducted at the veterinary clinic of the National School of Livestock and Animal Health between January 1 and December 31, 2020 were included in the study. These dogs were observed for 15 days. The bite dogs that died during the observation were sampled. Their brains were collected aseptically and brain smears were prepared and subjected to fluorescent antibody testing. The virus was identified using the immunofluorescence technique as recommended by the World Organization for Animal Health. In total, 577 dog biters were recorded. Of the 577 biters observed, 246 42.6% [95% CI: 40.4-44.8]. Of the 246 bite dogs that died during observation 232 94.3% [95% CI: 92.1-96.5] were confirmed positive for immunofluorescence testing. Rabies virus was found in 40.2% (232/577) [95% CI: 38.2-42.2]. Test positivity was significantly associated with age, sex, breed, breeding conditions and vaccination status of the biting dog. The most common risk behaviours observed among bite dog owners were: letting children have fun with the stray and/or unvaccinated dog; letting the stray and/or unvaccinated dog lick the children’s wounds; get the sores licked by the stray and/or unvaccinated dog; do not wash the sore thoroughly with soap and water after dog bite and eat the undercooked dog meat. Since rabies is a major zoonotic disease once reported, there is no treatment, adequate measures such as raising awareness among children and the general population are needed. Dog owners must vaccinate their dogs against rabies. Municipalities must be heavily involved in the fight against rabies by limiting the rambling of animals and put out of order stray dogs.
Key words: Biting dogs, Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, public health, rabies virus, rabies, risk behaviours, zoonotic transmission.
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