Transcript: Foodborne Rabies
Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.
Normally, rabies is only contracted by getting bitten by a rabid animal, but case reports have been published of people coming down with rabies without any such history—like these two, from Vietnam. In a truly man-bites-dog story, they both came down with rabies after butchering and consuming a dog or cat.
The rabies virus should be killed by proper cooking, but they think it was in the preparation of their brains that may have generated large amounts of virus. The dog’s brains were eaten steamed, but the cat’s brains were pulped with the bare hands to make some special dish. The doctors suggest butchering and consumption of dogs should be really better regulated, as as high as 2% of dogs in slaughterhouses may be infected. And, about the same percentage has been found infected in China.
In fact, the long-distance live animal transport of dogs for the meat trade may be a factor in the massive human rabies epidemics in southern China, where farmers can get as much as $12-15 per dog. The dog meat trade may also be playing a role in the spread of rabies in the Philippines—though again, as a doc with the Department of Health pointed out, “If the animal is cooked, the virus is destroyed, but many are eaten raw.” And even if they are cooked, there may be cross-contamination during handling and preparation. “And anyone cutting up a dead dog can transmit the virus to themselves if they touch their eyes or lips while they have traces of the dog’s fluids on their hands…”
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