According to veterinarian Dr Hamid Ebrahimzadeh, the CCHF virus, and nairoviruses in general, are sensitive to pH changes. “Consequently, when rigor mortis ensues (pH about 5.8), the carcasses of cattle in particular will be free of virus infectivity. Thus, the lapse of time between slaughter and consumption ensures that the meat will be free of infectivity and is an important factor in risk management."
A study by Dr Sadegh Chinikar from the Pasteur Institute of Iran, found that only 16/233 cases of CCHF in Iran were in slaughterhouse workers, compared with 38 in butchers, raising the question as to why butchers were at higher risk when presumably they would be receiving meat from the slaughterhouse with low pH, which would therefore be non-infectious.
When asked about this by the International Society for Infectious Diseases, Chinikar stated, “If butchers used only correctly slaughtered commercial livestock, they would be at lesser risk of CCHF infection than slaughterhouse workers. But when we check their history in the rural areas, some butchers sacrifice livestock themselves in addition to using commercially slaughtered livestock; this issue should not be forgotten, he said. “Those butchers would certainly increase their CCHF infection risk this way. The virus can persist in livestock liver for about 40 days because the pH in the liver does not drop at the same rate as in muscle, and some people eat uncooked liver,” Chinikar added.
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