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Estimating the economic cost of canine rabies

A. Anderson, S. A. Shwiff

CANINE rabies is a serious public health concern, particularly in Asia and Africa, where it is estimated to be responsible for some 50,000 deaths in people each year. This study aimed to estimate the total economic impact of the disease worldwide.

The model created by the authors attempted to include all of the costs of the disease, including the cost of postexposure prophylaxis treatments in people (estimated to cost around US $37 per person in Africa and Asia), the cost of vaccinating dogs, the cost of the loss of cattle to the disease and the cost of diagnostic tests for the disease in dogs. The authors also included an estimated ‘value of a statistical life’, an economic concept that does not seek to place a monetary value on a human life, but aims to represent the cost of a human death and the average amount that a society is willing to pay to reduce the risk of death. For the purposes of this study, based on several meta-analyses, the authors placed this figure at US $1.8 million.

Using a Monte Carlo simulation method, the authors estimated that the total annual global cost of canine rabies is US $124 billion, with human mortality risk …

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