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Cooked dog meat safe from rabies – Vet officer to dog consumers

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Consumers of dog meat in the Upper East Region can now enjoy their favourite delicacy without any concerns about potential rabies infection.

In an interview with A1 Radio’s Mark Smith on the Day Break Upper East Show, Robert Bayuo, the Regional Data Officer at the Upper East Regional Veterinary Department, shed light on the destruction of the rabies virus. According to Bayuo, the virus is rendered inactive at approximately 65 degrees Celsius. This implies that when meat, including dog meat, is boiled at temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Celsius, the virus is effectively eliminated. Therefore, properly cooked dog meat can be considered safe for consumption.

“Already cooked meat doesn’t pose a threat because the virus cannot survive temperatures above 65 degrees celsius. If you go to meet already cooked meat, you don’t run the risk of infection,” he said. 

While cooked meat doesn’t allow for the transmission of rabies, people who prepare the meat are at risk.  

“We do not have any data or statistics to prove that for now, but one of the signs of rabies is excessive salivation. You see the dog always panting with a lot of saliva coming from the mouth. Because of the excessive salivation, there is a tendency for it to spread around the limbs or any part of the body, and so when you kill it, the carcass cannot jump by itself into the fire for you to process it. The saliva and other bodily fluids would be on the body, and if you get into contact with them, assuming you have a cut on your hand, you are definitely going to be infected.”

Rabies, a deadly viral disease that affects the nervous system, has recently been a cause of concern among health authorities worldwide. The primary cause of rabies is the transmission of the virus through the bite or scratch of an infected animal, most commonly dogs, bats, raccoons, and foxes. In rare cases, transmission can occur through contact with infected saliva entering open wounds or mucous membranes. This zoonotic disease poses a significant threat to human health and is almost always fatal once symptoms develop.

The initial symptoms of rabies are often non-specific, resembling flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, and fatigue. As the disease progresses, it rapidly affects the central nervous system, leading to symptoms such as anxiety, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, and difficulty swallowing. Eventually, the infected person may experience violent movements, respiratory failure, and coma. Once clinical signs appear, there is no effective treatment for rabies, making prevention crucial.

Preventing rabies primarily relies on two key strategies: vaccination and animal control measures. Vaccinating domestic dogs, which are the main source of human infections, is essential to breaking the transmission cycle. Public health campaigns promoting responsible pet ownership, including spaying/neutering and regular vaccination, are vital. In addition, avoiding contact with wild or stray animals, especially those displaying abnormal behavior, is crucial to minimizing the risk of exposure.

Awareness about rabies and its prevention is critical in combating this deadly disease. Education programs should emphasize the importance of timely medical attention after an animal bite or scratch, as well as the need for prompt administration of post-exposure prophylaxis, which includes a series of injections. Early intervention following a potential exposure can prevent the onset of symptoms and save lives. By understanding the causes, recognizing symptoms, and implementing preventive measures, communities can effectively protect themselves from the devastating impact of rabies.

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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