The Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) is an emerging zoonotic disease with global impact. Different intervention measures have been rolled out to flatten the curve, however the unhygienic conditions of abattoirs in Nigeria may be a perfect breeding ground for the novel coronavirus, hence could pose a threat to public health. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first reported among individuals who had either visited or had consumed food sold at the wet animal market in Wuhan, megacity of China in late December, 2019. The outbreak compelled China authority to close down all the wet animal markets in the Hubei province in an attempt to curb zoonotic transmission of the virus. Due to the unhygienic conditions of Nigerian abattoirs, butchers are more likely to come in contact with contaminated objects or surfaces and when they do, they may unknowingly infect themselves by touching their noses, mouth, or eyes with contaminated hands. Consequently, the virus could find its way into the respiratory tract to initiates an infection. Worst still, the lack of social distancing in the abattoirs can promote local transmission amongst butchers if some of them are infected and remain asymptomatic. These asymptomatic individuals can constitute a potential reservoir in the propagation and transmission of the virus within the abattoirs and in the community if they are not identified, isolated and treated. The current pandemic poses a threat of zoonotic transmission, hence, there is need for the Federal Government of Nigeria to make concerted effort in restoring sanitary in the abattoirs in order to forestall an outbreak of a virus that may be more deadly than SARS-CoV-2. This review therefore seeks to evaluate the growing concerns of the unhygienic conditions of abattoirs in Nigeria amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the threats it poses to public health and the possible way forward.
|Journal of Public Health and Diseases
|Published - 30 Dec 2020