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Role of dog sterilisation and vaccination in rabies control programmes
  1. Sarah Cleaveland1,
  2. Katie Hampson1,
  3. Tiziana Lembo1,
  4. Sunny Townsend1 and
  5. Felix Lankester2
  1. 1College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ
  2. 2Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, 99164, USA
  1. E-mail: sarah.cleaveland{at}

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Sarah Cleaveland and colleagues comment: We are grateful to Andrew Rowan and colleagues for raising several important points about rabies transmission and the role of dog sterilisation programmes in rabies prevention and control programmes. We would like to emphasise our support for efforts towards humane management of dog populations and applaud the health and welfare achievements of the Jaipur and Chennai programmes.

Embedded ImageOwners wait for their dogs to be vaccinated against rabies at a mass vaccination organised under an NGO-funded programme near the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania

In response to some of the specific issues raised, we agree the geographical scales of empirical dog density estimates are crude. Nonetheless, across these scales (spanning two orders of magnitude) there is no evidence of density-dependent transmission. This is important because it underlines the fact that culling (the first line of response in many rabies …

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