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Rodent preparation as food
Dan Brunsdon

Hunting practices and consumption 

Hunting and consumption of rodents is a multifaceted practice, including elements such as; trapping, killing and preparation of food for consumption. If different contexts, different types of behaviours are classified as hunting, and people's preferences for certain meats over others may be different. Hunting may be a prestigious activity carried out only by specific actors, or emerge from pragmatic attempts to avoid wastefulness, for example through opportunistic killings that take place within the context of other activities, such as clearing land for cultivation. Although the literature has documented that the consumption of larger rodents across western and central Africa is common, much less is known about the hunting of smaller species, such as those implicated in the spread of Lassa fever. The hunting of rodents may involve the use of other animals such as dogs, and preparing the meat for consumption often occurs with inadequate hygiene precautions.

Resources

Hunting of peridomestic rodents and consumption of their meat as possible risk factors for rodent-to-human transmission of Lassa virus in the Republic of Guinea

This study comparing two regions in Guinea, Pita and Gueckedou, observed three major risks for Lassa virus transmission: rodent infestation, uncovered food and hunting of peridomestic rodents as protein source. Hunting and preparation of rodents was identify as a specific risk, however more research is needed to ascertain the age and sex-specific risk factors, sociocultural and economical leading to rodent consumption.

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Rat-Atouille: A mixed method study to characterize rodent hunting and consumption in the context of Lassa fever

This paper investigated the consumption of rodents, including the reservoir species of Lassa fever, and found this is widespread and does not neatly tally against generational or gender lines. Further, it found that the reasons for rodent consumption are multifactorial, including taste preferences, food security, and opportunistic behaviour.

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Participation of women and children in hunting activities in Sierra Leone and implications for control of zoonotic infections

This paper underscores the challenges of interventions, surveillance, research and sensitization campaigns. To address such complexity, intervention strategies should become more diversified and context-specific. In particular the role of children should be recognised; specific intervention strategies should be tailored to children's specific hunting practices.

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