Background: Dog bite cases poses a major public health threat in Nigeria. Majority of rabies infection in humans are due to bites from rabid dogs which are mainly local breed. Research carried out in Nigeria has established that some apparently healthy dogs excrete rabies viral antigen in their saliva without showing clinical signs.
Aim: This study was carried out to evaluate cases of dog bite in Aba, Abia state Nigeria and its public health significance
Methodology: Cases of dog bite in humans reported at the Zonal Veterinary Clinic Aba, Abia state Nigeria from 2007 to 2012 were retrieved. Data on cases of dog bites from the Veterinary clinic record were extracted using a structured questionnaire designed for the study.
Results: Out of 215 reported cases of dog bite, 11.6% were victims less than 15 years of age and 44.7% were victims greater than 30 years of age. Local breed of dogs (50.7%) were most involved in the bites, with cross breed (12.6%) being the least. Majority (78.1%) of the dogs involved in the bites were unvaccinated against rabies, with 11.6% having unknown anti-rabies vaccination status. There was no association (X2 =7.38, P > 0.05) between breed and vaccination status of the offending dogs. Dog bite victims were more of males (62.8%) than females (37.2%) with seasonal index showing the greatest values between the months of October to December. Most of the bites (63.7%) occurred arround the lower extremities with bites around the abdominal region (2.8%) being the least.
Conclusion: Reports of dog bite cases in humans indicate the need for public health enlightenment campaign programs aimed at educating the public on the need to seek proper post-exposure prophylaxis treatment from health care facilities when bitten by dogs and the need for dog owners to vaccinate their dogs yearly against rabies.
Dog bite; rabies; Aba; seasonal index.