Rabies-infected dogs at slaughterhouses: a potential risk of rabies transmission via dog trading and butchering activities in Vietnam.
The study aimed to determine the status of neutralizing antibodies and rabies virus infection in dogs at slaughterhouses in Hanoi city from 2015 to 2017. A total of 2,376 pairs of blood and brain samples were collected from dogs at 92 slaughterhouses (8 large slaughterhouses and 84 small slaughterhouses) in 6 districts in Hanoi. Of the 1,500 dog samples from the large slaughterhouses where imported dogs were slaughtered, no dog brain samples were infected with rabies virus and no blood samples were positive for rabies neutralizing antibodies. Meanwhile, 7/876 (0.8%) of dog brain samples from small slaughterhouses in which slaughtered local dogs were positive for rabies virus and 26.4% had neutralizing antibodies against rabies virus. Analysis of the genetic characteristics of these rabies viruses showed that they all had a common origin with the domestic strains circulating in Northern Vietnam. Research results suggested that there was a potential risk of rabies transmission to humans through dog slaughtering activities in Vietnam. Vaccination for dogs should be strengthened, strictly implemented and frequently monitored to reach the rate of herd vaccination coverage as WHO's recommendation. Dog trading and slaughtering activities should be strictly monitored to minimize the risk of rabies transmission to humans.