A retrospective study with statistical analysis on the state of rabies in Morocco unveiled several key finds and underlined the need for better awareness about how to manage the viral disease, especially among Morocco’s rural population.
The researchers found a predominance of male cases (61.3%) among victims of animal exposure.
The age group of five to 14 years was the most affected by rabies at a percentage of 23.5%.
The upper limb represented the most frequent site of exposure at a rate of 49.4%, and around 52.1% of patients presented with multiple lesions.
The study highlighted that 54.4% of cases were bitten by a stray animal, with dogs accounting for 47.8% of the bites.
All exposed individuals performed wound cleansing prior to arrival at the Anti-Rabies Center (ARC).
Post-exposure prophylaxis, also known as PEP (a measure designed to prevent the disease from further spreading) was initiated in 34.5% of cases between 24 to 48 hours, while 26.1% of cases delayed it beyond 48 hours.
Additionally, around 34% of patients did not complete their vaccination schedule.
“Regarding the factors associated with the delay in PEP, we found significant associations with patient age, place of residence (urban or rural), distance from the ARC (>30 km or <30 km), nature, number, and injury status (p≤0.05). Significant associations (p≤0.05) were also found with dog bites and their type (domestic or stray),” explained the researchers.
Despite the availability of effective human and veterinary vaccines, rabies remains a major public health concern, killing 59,000 people globally each year.
The majority of incidents occur in Africa and Asia, with over 40% of victims being youngsters under the age of 15.
According to the study, rabies causes meningoencephalitis, which can be lethal. Once clinical indications of rabies show, there is no effective treatment. Therefore, available treatment techniques aim to get rid of the virus before it gets into the nervous system.
The data on animal exposure was collected from the ARC located in Ouarzazate, and the study was conducted by Kenza El Bazi, Touria El Bardi, Mouhcine Miloudi, Said Zouhair, Lamiae Arsalane, as well as Youssef El Kamouni and published in Cureus journal.