Chitipa district veterinary officer Steve Musopole has expressed concern over dilapidated slaughterhouses that dot markets in the border strip.
He said the neglected facilities put the district at risk of disease outbreaks with deadly consequences on both human beings and animals.
Musopole told a District Executive Committee meeting on animal and public health that all 20 slaughter houses in the district near the boundary between Malawi and Zambia do not have fences and safe water supply.
“Dogs have easy access to the slaughterhouses where they scavenge for leftovers from animal carcasses, putting surrounding communities at risk of contracting diseases such as rabies,” he states.
Musopole said the dogs are likely to feed on infected carcasses, creating a conducive environment for disease transmission from animals to human beings.
According to district medical officer Esther Mkandawire, Chitipa has registered a surge in people seeking treatment for rabies after being bitten by stray dogs.
“Treatment for rabies is very expensive, for instance, we spend about K2 million on rabies vaccine annually,” she said.
Chitipa District Council has banned movement and slaughtering of pigs due to an outbreak of African swine fever in the district.