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Abattoirs have been risk points for the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 with far-reaching implications. We assessed abattoir workers’ knowledge and risk perceptions in line with the Health Belief Model premise, and preventive preparedness towards the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as identified factors associated with its spread at slaughterhouses. A structured questionnaire-based cross-sectional study was conducted on randomly selected workers (n=660) in 11 conveniently selected abattoirs in North-central Nigeria, between January and December 2021. Statistical analysis was performed at a 95% confidence level using OpenEpi 3.1. The majority (96.1%, n=634) of selected workers participated. Most workers (88.9%) were males, and 56.5% were married. Only 24.6% had tertiary education and 48.4% were butchers. Only 33.4% of the workers mentioned that COVID-19 can affect animals, while all (100.0%) reported that it can affect humans. Few of the workers practice handshake avoidance (46.1%), handwashing with soap and water (26.5%), use of hand sanitizer (21.3%), physical distancing (16.6%), and PPE (28.5%) as preventive measures, while the majority use face masks (76.8%). Age, gender, formal education, and occupation were significantly associated with knowledge, perceptions, and preventive practices toward COVID-19. Lack of physical distancing was more likely (OR=6.36; 95% CI: 3.76–10.76) to influence COVID-19 spread, while lack of PPE was 12 times more likely (OR=12.53; 95% CI: 8.01–19.63) to influence the spread of the disease in slaughterhouses. The study highlighted overall poor knowledge, perceptions, and preventive practices regarding the COVID-19 pandemic amongst surveyed workers. Application of the ‘One Health’ approach mitigation would assure food safety, food security, public and environmental health.
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