In Côte d’Ivoire, distemper is becoming epidemic. Several factors explain its spread.
In Abidjan , the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire, a wave of contaminations is killing dogs . The president of the Committee of Canine Friends of Côte d’Ivoire (CAC-CI) declares that the death toll stands at 150.
Phone calls from owners of dogs with alarming symptoms have increased in recent times, Souleymane Touré tells Sputnik. Distemper actually causes very serious symptoms that could be compared to those induced by measles. It is actually a virus that is transmitted between dogs. These are contaminated in particular by air. People can also carry the virus on their clothes.
Climatic conditions affect the survival of the virus which is not resistant to heat and which needs its host to live. Although the country’s climate is tropical, it is currently going through a rainy season which makes the environment less hostile to the virus.
The vaccine against distemper exists and is only effective as a preventive measure ; there is no cure. The dog must therefore be vaccinated from an early age and receive boosters every year. This is another factor behind the spread of the virus in Abidjan, since the vaccine is not always provided by veterinarians .
Indeed, dog owners are not always sufficiently attentive, they sometimes prefer to delegate this task to an educator. He will not always administer all the vaccines to the dogs he is caring for. And when he does, he probably won’t have met the vaccine storage conditions after buying it from vets. Becoming totally ineffective, dogs are not protected against infectious diseases.
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In addition, a circuit for routing dogs from Eastern European countries is in place to sell them in Côte d’Ivoire. To do this, the dog must be of a certain age, which prompts dealers to falsify their notebooks and indicate vaccinations that have never been performed.