Rabies and Dog Meat

Rabies and Dog Meat

I Wayan Suardana

Eating dog meat is mostly done in some countries in Korea, Vietnam, China and even Indonesia. Some places in Indonesia still consume dog meat such as Manado, Yogyakarta, Solo and a small part of Bali. In Jogja, for example, dog meat is cooked as "sengsu" or tongseng asu (dog) while in Manado it is known as "RW" cuisine with the dominant taste of cuisine, and some places in Bali are processed as "sate" cuisine. According to the table of Indonesian food composition, in 100 grams of RW dog meat contains energy of 198 Kcal, 24.6 gr of protein, 10.5 gr of fat and 0.9 gr of carbohydrate. Protein content of dog meat is even higher when compared with beef.

People who eat dog meat are based on several reasons: dog meat is believed to increase male vitality, as an anti-inflammatory and body warmer, even if all these benefits have no scientific evidence.

Recent news is warmly discussing dog meat as a source of Rabies disease transmission. Theoretically, rabies virus is really zoonotic, which means it can be transmitted through animals to humans. In animals, the disease is common in dogs, cats, and monkeys. Rabies caused by lyssa viruses. The virus is transmitted to humans through animals that have previously infected the disease.

A person may be infected with rabies if the saliva of the rabid animal enters the body through the bite, even through a scratch if the rabid animal has previously licked his nails. In some rare cases, a person is infected with rabies because the wound on his body is licked by an infected animal.

Opportunities of rabies virus transmission from meat to humans are very small. This phenomenon is based on viral properties that can only live and thrive on living cells. The virus becomes inactive when exposed to sunlight, ultraviolet light, 1 hour heating for 50 minutes, drying, and very sensitive to alkaline solvents such as soap, disinfectants, and alcohol 70%. In addition, before the dog meat processed into a kind of RW meat, tongseng or satay, it has also been heated thoroughly. The existence of the news as if the rabies virus spread to people after contact with the meat from the dog can happen when contact occurs in the early stages of the process of muscle changes into meat. Transmission, for example, shortly after the dog dies, the dog's saliva of an open wound or skin from the butcher, or the butcher is bitten while cutting the dog. In this case, the butcher (dog cutter) is a person at risk of contracting rabies in relation to dog meat. In 2007, there was an outbreak of rabies in Ba Vi, Vietnam, as an important area for dog meat trade reported by District Department of Animal Health (DAH) reported that 70% of deaths were from dog bites, but 30% were suspected due to exposure at slaughter time or cutting.

The high risk factor of contact with dogs (surviving dogs) for rabies infection is also evidenced by some other research results. There was found contact factor with rabid dog (P = 0,000; OR = 12,551; 95% CI = 5,541 <OR <28,430), as the largest component under vaccination status (P = 0,000; OR = 19,133; 95% CI = 8,015 <OR < 45,678) contributing to the transmission of the rabies virus.

Regardless of the pros and cons of consuming dog meat in principle is very safe if it has been cooked perfectly from rabies virus attack, but it will be very risky for the butcher (the dog cutter) at the time of preparation of meat before cooking. The attempt to eradicate rabies does not lie in banning people from eating dog meat, but the ban on dog slaughter as food is a critical point.


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