Background: Rabies in Ethiopia is primarily a disease of dogs. However, many people receive post exposure anti-rabies treatment annually all over the country. Most people are at increased risk of being exposed to rabies, as man-dog contact is very common in the country. In this retrospective study, information on the status of rabies over the period of 1990-2000 is presented.
Methods: The occurrence of rabies in humans and animals was determined by reviewing the registers used for recording human and animal rabies cases and post exposure anti rabies treatments.
Results: The information indicated that 96.2 % of the animals examined were dogs and 92% of humans who received post exposure anti-rabies treatments were due to dog bites. A total of 2172 rabid animals' brains were examined of which about 90% were dogs, 5.3% cats, 2.9% cattle and 1.9% other animals. Moreover, 322 fatal human rabies cases were recorded and 95% of these were acquired from dogs.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated the importance of rabies as a public health problem in the country. Dogs are responsible in maintaining the continuous persistence as well as dissemination of rabies in the country. Therefore, regular intervention targeted at controlling stray dogs and administration of anti-rabies vaccination campaigns is strongly recommended. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2002;16(1):105-112]