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Original Article  |  Open Access  |  13 Dec 2023

Rabies exposure and prophylaxis among dog owners in Ogun State, Nigeria: a descriptive and categorical analysis of knowledge, attitudes and practices

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One Health Implement Res 2023;3:135-47.
10.20517/ohir.2023.29 |  © The Author(s) 2023.
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Abstract

Background: Rabies, a deadly viral human-animal disease, remains endemic in Nigeria. Identifying gaps in rabies knowledge, attitudes, and practices among dog owners in communities within Southwestern Nigeria remains a public health goal. This cross-sectional study investigated the knowledge of and attitudes to rabies exposure, prophylaxis and associated factors, and practices during rabies exposure and prophylaxis among dog owners in Ogun State, Nigeria.

Methods: Using multistage sampling technique, 500 dog owners were randomly selected and interviewed with a pre-tested structured questionnaire. Data collected on their socio-demographics, knowledge of and attitudes to rabies exposure and prophylaxis, and practices during rabies exposure and prophylaxis were evaluated using descriptive and categorical analysis.

Results: The majority of the respondents were female (53.0%; 265 respondents of 500 respondents), 32 years old (54.6%; 273 of 500), and had primary and secondary education (53.2%; 266 of 500 respondents). The majority (60.0%; 300 of 500 respondents) allowed their dogs to roam the streets, but only 120 (24.0%) had vaccinated their dogs up to date. Of the 500 respondents, 145 (29%) had experienced dog bites, but few (4.1%; 6 of 145) received rabies vaccine, and even fewer (2.8%; 4 of 145) completed the regimen. Proportions of respondents with knowledge, attitudes, and practices associated with higher rabies risks were 37.8%, 59.4%, and 97.6%, respectively. Age (P = 0.01), education (P = 0.04), short-term dog ownership (P = 0.01), and occupation (P = 0.01) were factors associated with their practices in relation to higher rabies risks.

Conclusion: The knowledge, attitudes, and practices of dog owners towards rabies exposure portends a high risk. Public health interventions to achieve behavioural change, and the enforcement of dog vaccination and leash laws are highly recommended.

Keywords

Dog owners, rabies awareness, exposure risk, behavioural change, Ogun State, Nigeria

INTRODUCTION

Rabies is a zoonosis caused primarily by the rabies virus. Rabies can also be caused by infection from other members of the Lyssavirus genus[1,2]. Rabies affects the central nervous system (CNS) of humans, as well as warm-blooded domestic and wild mammals. It is well-known that dogs are the most affected animals[3]. Rabies is most commonly spread through infected saliva, particularly from bites by affected dogs. The disease can be prevented and eliminated by vaccinating at least 70% of dogs to break the transmission cycle[1]. Despite being vaccine-preventable, rabies remains endemic in Africa, where an estimated 21,000 to 25,000 people die from the disease annually[4]. In Nigeria, a West African country, rabies still poses a significant public health threat. Thousands of people die of rabies annually and prevalence rates ranging from 3% to 28% have been reported among dogs in different regions of the country[5]. The domestic dog is the most common transmitter of rabies in Nigeria and many cases of rabies are due to bites by dogs, especially free-roaming dogs[6]. The Dogs Law, which was enacted in Nigeria in 1943 and has explicit provisions on compulsory dog registration, dog confinement, and dog rabies vaccination, is rarely enforced and it was only recently revised in a few states[7]. Consequently, the country has yet to attain the World Organisation of Animal Health’s international standard of prohibiting the straying of dogs[8]. Researchers have also reported the knowledge, attitudes, and practices considered to increase rabies exposure risk among people in some parts of the country[9].

Furthermore, dog bites and rabies cases are rarely reported to hospitals and this has led to an increase in the risk of dog-mediated human rabies[10]. Reporting dog bites and rabies cases ensures the availability of data necessary for sample collection, laboratory diagnosis, and planning and implementing rabies elimination programmes, including prompt post-exposure vaccination of dog bite victims and organisation of rabies education campaigns. The limited reportage of rabies cases has contributed to limited investment in rabies elimination interventions in Nigeria, like many other African countries[11]. Data are also essential for developing models pivotal to any in-depth understanding of disease dynamics and identifying and implementing prevention and control measures. Such models were developed to analyse the spread and control of rabies[12] and other infectious diseases, such as the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that has had devastating global impacts[13]. Ogun State has been identified as one of the states with the largest population of dogs in Southwestern Nigeria[14]. That rabies vaccination coverage among the dog population in the state is lower than the 70% recommended by the World Health Organisation has been reported in the state[15]. Hence, the residents are at a high risk of rabies exposure, and this raises concerns about the progress towards achieving the global strategic plan to end human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by the year 2030[16]. Since health literacy is pivotal in the prevention and control of infectious diseases[17], this study was conducted to assess the knowledge of and attitudes to rabies exposure and prophylaxis, as well as the practices and other associated factors that affect rabies exposure and prophylaxis among dog owners in Ogun State, Nigeria.

METHODS

The study was conducted in Ogun State, Southwestern Nigeria, from July 2020 to July 2021. The sample size was calculated using the formula n = Z2P(1-P)/d2[18], where n was the sample size, Z was the level of confidence (95%), P was the expected prevalence (50% was used), and d was precision (5%). The formula yielded a minimum sample size of 384. Seven (i.e., one-third) of the 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Ogun State were selected using systematic random sampling. Two wards per LGA (n = 14) were randomly selected and six streets per ward (n = 84) were then selected using systematic random sampling. A total of five hundred (n = 500) dog-owning houses were selected from the streets. Using the face-to-face interviewer method, a pre-tested and structured questionnaire with close-ended questions, which were grouped into four sections, was used to collect data on the dog owners’ socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge of and attitudes to rabies exposure and prophylaxis and the dog owners’ practices during rabies exposure and prophylaxis. Scoring of their knowledge, attitudes, and practices was done as described in a previous study[19]. To score the respondents’ knowledge, attitudes and practices in relation to rabies exposure and prophylaxis, each correct option to the questions was assigned one (1) point, while the incorrect options were assigned zero (0) point. Only respondents with at least an average of the total correct points were deemed to possess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices associated with lower rabies risk. In addition, any dog owner whose dog was not vaccinated against rabies up to date was regarded to demonstrate practices associated with higher rabies risk.

Statistical analysis

Data obtained from the study were analysed using descriptive statistics and the Chi-square test to identify the association between the socio-demographic characteristics of the dog owners, their knowledge of and attitudes to rabies exposure and prophylaxis, and their practices in the context of rabies exposure and prophylaxis. The level of significance was set at α = 0.05[20].

RESULTS

Socio-demographic characteristics of dog owners interviewed in Ogun State

Of the 500 dog owners, the majority (53.0%; 265 of 500) were female; younger than 32 years (54.6%; 273 of 500); of the Yoruba ethnic group (n = 456; 91.2%; 456 of 500); had primary to secondary education (53.2%; 266 of 500); owned private businesses (34.2%; 171 of 500) and had kept dogs continuously for five years or less (52.0%; 260 of 500) [Table 1].

Table 1

Socio-demographic characteristics of dog owners interviewed in Ogun State

VariableCategoryFrequencyPercentage (%)
SexMale23547.0
Female26553.0
TribeYoruba45691.2
Igbo357.0
Hausa30.6
Others61.2
Age (years)≤ 3227354.6
> 3222745.4
Level of educationNo formal education153.0
Primary to secondary education26653.2
Tertiary21943.8
OccupationDog breeders9118.2
Unemployed8917.8
Students8817.6
Civil servants6112.2
Private business owners17134.2
Number of years of keeping dogs≤ 526052.0
> 524048.0

Awareness and knowledge of dog owners about rabies

Of the 500 dog owners, a vast majority (86.4%; 432 of 500) had heard about rabies before mostly from friends and family members (46.5%; 201 of 500), less than half (37.4%; 187 of 500) knew that other mammals, besides dogs, could be infected with rabies, 135 (27.0%) stated that only adult and stray dogs could be infected and 62 (12.4%) knew that rabies could be transmitted through licks and contact of infected saliva with skin wounds and mucous membranes. Only 118 (23.6%) knew dogs could be rabid yet be calm. About a quarter (23.2%; 116 of 500) believed that herbs and concoctions, which have not been scientifically proven to be effective, were capable of preventing rabies [Table 2].

Table 2

Awareness and knowledge of dog owners about rabies

VariableResponseFrequencyPercentage (%)
Heard of rabies beforeYes43286.4
No6813.6
First source of information about rabiesFamily/friends20146.5
School9922.9
Veterinary/human hospital317.2
Mass media7016.2
Social media122.8
Rabies campaign194.4
Besides dogs, rabies can affect other mammalsYes18737.4
No22945.8
I don’t know8416.8
Only adult and stray dogs can be infected with rabiesYes13527.0
No185185
I don’t know180180
Rabies leads to the death of affected hostsYes36172.2
No5110.2
I don’t know8817.6
Rabies can be transmitted through the bites and scratches of an infected animalYes37675.2
No5511.0
I don’t know6969
Rabies can be transmitted through licks and contact with infected saliva with skin wounds and mucous membranesYes6212.4
No33166.2
I don’t know10721.4
Dogs with rabies show sudden changes in behaviour, hypersalivation, and aggressionYes34669.2
No8216.4
I don’t know7214.4
Some dogs may have rabies and yet be calmYes11823.6
No28757.4
I don’t know9519.0
Rabies can be prevented by vaccinationYes31963.8
No7915.8
I don’t know10220.4
Rabies can be prevented by the drinking or rubbing of herbs and traditional concoctions on dog bite wounds or by taking medicationsYes11623.2
No23346.6
I don’t know15130.2
Overall levels of knowledge about rabiesKnowledge associated with lower rabies risk31162.2
Knowledge associated with higher rabies risk18937.8

Attitude of dog owners to rabies

More than half of the respondents (50.4%; 252 of 500) stated they could play with any dog, regardless of the vaccination status. More than one-third of the dog owners (35.8%; 179 of 500) believed that free-roaming of dogs was acceptable. About half (42.0%; 210 of 500 respondents) claimed reporting cases of dog bites at the hospitals was unnecessary, and only one-quarter (25.2%; 126 of 500) thought it was not necessary to submit samples from suspected rabid animals for laboratory testing [Table 3].

Table 3

Attitudes of dog owners to rabies exposure and prophylaxis

StatementStrongly agree (%)Agree (%)Undecided (%)Disagree (%)Strongly disagree (%)
I can play with any dog in my community regardless of whether it is vaccinated against rabies or not37.812.64.019.226.4
Free roaming of dogs should be allowed in the community26.09.819.416.228.6
Cases of dog bites in animals and humans do not have to be reported to the hospital29.612.44.225.028.8
It is best to receive treatment in the hospital after being bitten by an animal39.62.67.08.442.4
It is not necessary to submit samples from suspected rabid animals for laboratory testing10.414.816.216.642.0
Overall levels of attitude towards rabiesAttitude associated with lower rabies risk40.6
Attitude associated with higher rabies risk59.4

Practices of dog owners during rabies exposure and prophylaxis

More than two-thirds of the respondents (65.8%; 329 of 500) had direct contact with dogs on a daily basis, but only about a fifth (20.8%; 104 of 500) practised good hand hygiene afterwards. The majority (60.0%; 300 of 500) allowed their dogs to roam freely in the neighborhood. Yet, less than a quarter (24.0%; 120 of 500) had vaccinated their dogs up to date. The reasons given for non-compliance with up-to-date dog rabies vaccination included lack of awareness (26.1%; 99 of 380), high cost of the vaccine (48.4%; 184 of 380 respondents), and unavailability (13.2%; 50 of 380) in their areas.

Of the 500 dog owners, 145 (29.0%) had experienced dog bites. Only 12 of these (8.3%, 12 of 145 dog bite victims) practised the acceptable wound-washing procedure immediately after the incident; only 22.1%, 32 of 145 dog bite victims, used herbs or concoctions; only 23.4%, 34 of 145 dog bite victims, reported at a medical facility. Six (4.1%) of the 145 dog bite victims took post-exposure rabies vaccine, but only four (2.8%) of the victims completed the regimen. The reasons given by the two victims who failed to complete the PEP regimen were the high cost of the human rabies vaccine and the long distance of the hospitals to their homes [Table 4].

Table 4

Practices of dog owners during rabies exposure and prophylaxis

VariableCategoryFrequencyPercentages (%)
Frequency of direct contact with dogsDaily32965.8
Less frequently17134.2
I wash my hands with soap and water or use sanitiser after direct contact with dogsYes10420.8
No39679.2
I allow dogs to roam freely in their communitiesYes30060.0
No20040.0
I comply with up-to-date vaccination of dogsYes12024.0
No38076.0
Reasons for not vaccinating dogs up to dateLack of awareness9926.1
High cost18448.4
Unavailability5013.2
Others4712.4
I have experienced dog bites in the pastYes14529.0
No35571.0
Actions taken after dog bitesWashed bite wound with soap and water immediately128.3
Applied antiseptics6343.4
Drank or rubbed herbs/concoction3222.1
Visited the hospital3423.4
Did nothing42.8
As a bite victim, I reported to the hospital immediatelyYes411.8
No3088.2
Took post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)Yes64.1
No13995.9
I completed the PEP regimenYes42.8
No14397.2
Reasons for not completing the PEP regimenHigh cost of human anti-rabies vaccine and the far distance of the hospital to the victim’s home2100
Overall levels of preventive practices towards rabiesPractices associated with lower rabies risk122.4
Practices associated with higher rabies risk48897.6

Socio-demographic characteristics of respondents and their knowledge of rabies

The age (P = 0.001), level of education (P = 0.02), number of years of keeping dogs (P = 0.001), and occupation (P = 0.01) of the respondents were significantly associated with their knowledge about rabies. Younger respondents, those with primary to secondary education, those who had kept dogs for fewer years, and the unemployed had levels of knowledge associated with higher rabies risk [Table 5].

Table 5

Respondents’ socio-demographic characteristics and their knowledge about rabies

VariableKnowledgeX2*df*P-value
Associated with lower rabies risk
n (%)
Associated with higher rabies risk
n (%)
Sex
Male149 (63.4)86 (36.6)0.2710.67
Female162 (61.1)103 (38.9)
Age (years)
≤ 32147 (53.8)126 (46.2)17.8510.001*
> 32164 (62.2)63 (27.8)
Level of education
No formal education9 (60.0)6 (40.0)7.6120.02*
Primary to secondary151 (56.8)115 (43.2)
Tertiary151 (68.9)68 (31.1)
Number of years of keeping dogs
≤ 5135 (51.9)125 (48.1)23.4310.001*
> 5176 (73.3)64 (26.7)
Occupation
Dog breeder63 (69.2)28 (30.8)13.1440.01*
Unemployed46 (51.7)43 (48.3)
Student46 (52.3)42 (47.7)
Civil servant44 (72.1)17 (27.9)
Private business owner112 (65.5)59 (34.5)

Socio-demographic characteristics of respondents and their attitudes to rabies

The sex (P = 0.01), age (P = 0.001), level of education (P = 0.001), number of years of keeping dogs (P = 0.001), and occupation (P = 0.001) of the respondents were significantly associated with their attitudes towards rabies. Females, younger respondents, those with no formal education, and those who had kept dogs for five years or less had attitudes associated with higher rabies risk [Table 6].

Table 6

Respondents’ socio-demographic factors and their attitudes to rabies

VariableAttitudeX2*df*P-value
Associated with lower rabies risk
n (%)
Associated with higher rabies risk
n (%)
Sex
Male109 (46.4)126 (53.6)6.1510.01*
Female94 (35.5)171 (64.5)
Age (years)
≤ 3270 (25.6)203 (74.4)54.4410.001*
> 32133 (58.6)94 (41.4)
Level of education
No formal education0 (0.0)15 (100.0)140.4520.001*
Primary to secondary50 (18.8)216 (81.2)
Tertiary153 (69.9)66 (30.1)
Number of years of keeping dogs
≤ 575 (28.8)185 (71.2)30.0210.001*
> 5128 (53.3)112 (46.7)
Occupation
Dog breeder35 (38.5)56 (61.5)95.3940.001*
Unemployed50 (56.2)39 (43.8)
Student35 (39.8)53 (60.2)
Civil servant52 (85.2)9 (14.8)
Private business owner31 (18.1)140 (81.9)

Socio-demographic characteristics of respondents and their practices during rabies exposure and prophylaxis

The respondents’ age (P = 0.01), level of education (P = 0.001), number of years of keeping dogs (P = 0.01), and occupation (P = 0.02) were significantly associated with their practices during rabies exposure and prophylaxis. Younger respondents, those with no formal education, and those who had kept dogs for five years or less had attitudes associated with higher rabies risk [Table 7].

Table 7

Respondents’ socio-demographic factors and their practices during rabies exposure and prophylaxis

VariablePracticeX2*df*P-value
Associated with lower rabies risk
n (%)
Associated with higher rabies risk
n (%)
Sex
Male59 (25.1)176 (74.9)0.1910.66
Female61 (23.0)204 (77.0)
Age (years)
≤ 3253 (19.4)220 (80.6)6.3910.01*
> 3267 (29.5)160 (70.5)
Level of education
No formal education0 (0.0)15 (100.0)54.0320.001*
Primary to secondary33 (12.4)233 (87.6)
Tertiary87 (39.7)380 (60.3)
Number of years of keeping dogs
≤ 5 years49 (18.8)211 (81.2)7.3110.01*
> 571 (29.6)169 (70.4)
Occupation
Dog breeders26 (28.6)65 (71.4)11.8640.02*
Unemployed28 (31.5)61 (68.5)
Student20 (22.7)68 (77.3)
Civil servant42 (68.9)19 (31.1)
Private business owner27 (15.8)144 (84.2)

Association between respondents’ knowledge of, attitudes to, and practices during rabies exposure and prophylaxis

There were significant associations between the dog owners’ knowledge of and attitudes to rabies exposure and prophylaxis (P = 0.008), knowledge of rabies and practices during rabies exposure and prophylaxis (P = 0.0001), and their attitudes to and practices during rabies exposure and prophylaxis (P = 0.0001). The majority (54.7%) of the respondents with knowledge associated with lower rabies risk had attitudes associated with lower rabies risk. The majority (74.0%) of those with knowledge associated with lower rabies risk exhibited practices associated with lower rabies risk, and the majority (63.1%) of those with attitudes associated with lower rabies risk exhibited practices associated with lower rabies risk [Table 8].

Table 8

Association between respondents’ knowledge of, attitudes to, and practices during rabies exposure and prophylaxis

KnowledgeAttitudeX2dfP-value
Associated with higher rabies risk
n (%)
Associated with lower rabies risk
n (%)
Associated with lower rabies risk141 (45.3)170 (54.7)7.1710.008*
Associated with higher rabies risk127 (67.2)62 (32.8)
KnowledgePracticesX2df*P-value
Associated with higher rabies risk
n (%)
Associated with lower rabies risk
n (%)
Associated with lower rabies risk81 (26.0)230 (74.0)15.2410.0001*
Associated with higher rabies risk168 (88.9)21 (11.1)
AttitudePracticesX2df*P-value
Associated with higher rabies risk
n (%)
Associated with lower rabies risk
n (%)
Associated with lower rabies risk75 (36.9)128 (63.1)55.9110.0001*
Associated with higher rabies risk270 (90.9)27 (9.1)

DISCUSSION

Rabies remains a disease of great public health concern and economic burden in Nigeria. This study identified knowledge gaps and attitudes and practices associated with higher rabies risk among dog owners in Ogun State, Southwestern Nigeria. The findings are essential for planning community-based strategies and resource allocation for rabies elimination in Ogun State, Nigeria. From this study, the majority (84.6%) of the dog owners were aware of rabies. This is similar to the 86.9% reported in a study on rabies awareness among dog owners in Abeokuta, Ogun State[15]. The most common sources of the first information about rabies (46.5%) were friends and family members. This finding is consistent with that of a similar study in Oyo State, Nigeria[21] and another one in Ghana[22]. Such informal channels have the disadvantages of limited reach and the possibility of spreading incorrect information. This indicates the need to adopt the One Health approach involving veterinarians, medical doctors, and other concerned professionals in the dissemination of authentic information about rabies to stop its spread in animal and human populations.

Furthermore, only 37.4% of the respondents knew that, besides dogs, other mammals could be infected with rabies. This is similar to a work in Oyo State, Nigeria, which reported that only 37.5% of its respondents were aware that other mammals could be infected by rabies[21]. This reveals a knowledge gap as rabies has been reported in other mammals in Nigeria[23]. Only a few (12.4%) knew rabies could spread through licks and contacts of the saliva of an infected animal with skin wounds and mucous membranes; thus, this indicates that non-bite exposure to rabies is not commonly known and should be included in rabies education programmes. More than a third (36.2%) of the respondents did not know rabies could be prevented by vaccination. This is in tandem with a previous report in Ogun State[24] and calls for more extensive enlightenment on the importance of vaccination for canine and human rabies prevention. The majority of the respondents had attitudes associated with higher rabies risk, as more than half (50.4%) indicated that they could play with any dog regardless of its vaccination status. Meanwhile, most rabies cases in Nigeria have been attributed to stray, free-roaming, and unvaccinated dogs[5]. Attitudes towards reporting the cases of dog bites in animals and humans to the hospital and submitting samples from suspected rabid animals for laboratory testing pose a higher risk of rabies exposure. These negative attitudes contribute to the underreporting of rabies cases, resulting in extremely limited data essential for the adequate supply of the resources needed for rabies elimination[25].

With as high as 60.0% of the respondents allowing their dogs to roam freely, there is an increase in the environmental risk of rabies transmission. Many cases of dog-mediated human rabies have been associated with bites by free-roaming dogs, and the risk of rabies spillover from free-roaming dogs to other domestic animals as well as wildlife has been reported in Nigeria[26]. The enforcement of laws prohibiting straying and free-roaming of dogs is therefore pivotal to environmental protection geared towards rabies prevention and One Health optimisation. Furthermore, with only about a quarter (24.0%) of the respondents complying with up-to-date rabies vaccination of their dogs, the risk of rabies from dog bites is high. Dog vaccination coverage lower than the 70% WHO-recommended level is equally a major challenge in some other African countries[27], and this may make achieving the “Zero by Thirty” goal difficult.

Almost a third (29.0%) of the respondents had experienced dog bites. This is lower than the 78% reported in a study in Kwara State, Nigeria[9]. However, only a few respondents who had experienced dog bites (8.3%) practised immediate wound washing with soap and water after the bite, as recommended by the WHO[1]. Hence, public health education on first aid rabies prevention in dog bite victims is expedient. Some 22.1% of the dog bite victims used herbs or concoctions to prevent rabies. This serves as proof that the use of traditional medicine to treat diseases is a common practice in Nigeria[28]. Such a practice may be contributing to the high prevalence of human rabies in Africa. Only a few (23.4%) of the dog bite victims reported to the hospital for wound management and assessment for rabies vaccine uptake. This is lower than the 61.8% reported in another study in which respondents were from Ogun State[24] and indicates a decline in healthcare-seeking behaviour in the state. The delayed reporting to the hospital by the majority of the dog bite victims (88.2%) may increase the risk of dog-mediated human rabies. Furthermore, only six of the dog bite victims (4.1%) took the Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). This is lower than the 66.25% previously reported in the state[24]. A third of those who took the PEP (33.3%) failed to complete the regimen due to the high cost of the human rabies vaccine and the long distance from the hospital to their homes. This means that low economic power and limited access to healthcare facilities hinder rabies’ PEP uptake and increase the risk of dog-mediated human rabies. Educating the public on the importance of taking complete doses of rabies PEP and wider distribution of subsidised or free human rabies vaccine to remote communities can contribute to addressing these challenges.

The overall levels of knowledge, attitudes, and practices associated with higher rabies risk in this study were 37.8%, 59.4%, and 97.6%, respectively. Similar findings have been reported in some other states of Nigeria[9]. Age, education, dog ownership, and occupation were the factors associated with rabies-preventive practices. Knowledge, attitudes, and practices associated with higher rabies risks were observed among younger respondents, those with low or no formal education, those who had only owned dogs for a few years, and private business owners. This observation is consistent with those of a number of previous studies in Nigeria[29]. Researchers in China[30] also reported that bite victims of suspected rabid dogs with lower levels of education were less likely to exhibit practices associated with lower rabies risk. Hence, these factors should be captured in rabies education programmes. This study has also revealed that a greater proportion of dog owners with higher levels of rabies knowledge had attitudes and engaged in practices associated with lower rabies risk, as similarly reported by two previous studies[31,32]. Organising programmes aimed at improving rabies knowledge and ensuring behavioural changes in various settings, such as schools and communities, will immensely contribute to rabies prevention and control. For instance, including rabies education in school curricula has been proven to have significantly increased rabies knowledge. Rabies knowledge improvement has resulted in the reduction of dog bite cases and rabies risk among school children[33].

In conclusion, the rabies knowledge level among the dog owners interviewed in this study was moderately high. However, knowledge gaps regarding rabies hosts, transmission, signs, and prevention were identified. Their attitudes to and practices, especially regarding dog vaccination compliance, post-exposure first aid measures, and prophylaxis, are of great public health concern. Targeting dog owners of younger age, with low levels of education, owning private businesses, and who have only kept dogs for a few years in rabies education programmes is of utmost importance. To achieve rabies elimination in Ogun State and fulfil the global goal of zero human dog-mediated rabies deaths by 2030, there is an urgent need for the adoption of the One Health approach involving all the concerned stakeholders in implementing rabies education programmes, free mass dog vaccination, rabies surveillance, enforcement of dog’s law and extensive supply of free or subsidised human rabies vaccines.

DECLARATIONS

Acknowledgements

The authors appreciate all the dog owners who participated in this study.

Authors’ contributions

Conceptualisation, methodology: Akanbi IO, Ishola OO, Olugasa BO

Formal analysis and investigation: Akanbi IO, Akanbi IM

Writing - original draft preparation: Akanbi IO

Writing - review and editing: Akanbi IO, Ishola OO, Olugasa BO, Akanbi IM, Olarinmoye AO

Supervision: Ishola OO, Olugasa BO

Availability of data and materials

The data collection materials and datasets generated during this study are available and can be accessed through the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Financial support and sponsorship

The authors declare that no funds, grants, or any other support were received during the preparation of this manuscript.

Conflicts of interest

All authors declared that there are no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval and consent to participate

The ethical approval for the study was obtained from the University of Ibadan/University College Hospital (UI/UCH) Ethics Committee, Institute for Advanced Medical Research and Training (IAMRAT), College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria with the assigned number: UI/EC/20/0150.

The informed consent documents read and signed by the participants in this study were reviewed and approved by the University of Ibadan/University College Hospital (UI/UCH) Ethics Committee, Institute for Advanced Medical Research and Training (IAMRAT), College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.

Consent for publication

Written informed consent documents to publish the data obtained from the study were obtained from all the dog owners.

Copyright

© The Author(s) 2023.

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Cite This Article

OAE Style

Akanbi IO, Ishola OO, Olugasa BO, Akanbi IM, Olarinmoye AO. Rabies exposure and prophylaxis among dog owners in Ogun State, Nigeria: a descriptive and categorical analysis of knowledge, attitudes and practices. One Health Implement Res 2023;3:135-47. http://dx.doi.org/10.20517/ohir.2023.29

AMA Style

Akanbi IO, Ishola OO, Olugasa BO, Akanbi IM, Olarinmoye AO. Rabies exposure and prophylaxis among dog owners in Ogun State, Nigeria: a descriptive and categorical analysis of knowledge, attitudes and practices. One Health & Implementation Research. 2023; 3(4): 135-47. http://dx.doi.org/10.20517/ohir.2023.29

Chicago/Turabian Style

Akanbi, Ifeoluwapo Omolola, Olayinka Olabisi Ishola, Babasola Oluseyi Olugasa, Ibikunle Mark Akanbi, Ayodeji Oluwadare Olarinmoye. 2023. "Rabies exposure and prophylaxis among dog owners in Ogun State, Nigeria: a descriptive and categorical analysis of knowledge, attitudes and practices" One Health & Implementation Research. 3, no.4: 135-47. http://dx.doi.org/10.20517/ohir.2023.29

ACS Style

Akanbi, IO.; Ishola OO.; Olugasa BO.; Akanbi IM.; Olarinmoye AO. Rabies exposure and prophylaxis among dog owners in Ogun State, Nigeria: a descriptive and categorical analysis of knowledge, attitudes and practices. One. Health Implement. Res. 2023, 3, 135-47. http://dx.doi.org/10.20517/ohir.2023.29

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