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Implications of population dynamics on minimum vaccination coverage to control rabies in dogs

A. Conan, O. Akerele, G. Simpson, B. Reininghaus, J. van Rooyen, D. Knobel

IN Africa, rabies is maintained in populations of owned, free-roaming domestic dogs, but can be controlled by mass vaccination. It has previously been reported that rabies in dogs can be controlled if at least 40 per cent of a population is immune at any one time. To maintain this threshold, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that mass dog vaccination campaigns should achieve a vaccination coverage of at least 70 per cent of the population in a given area. However, the proportion of immune individuals may decline between vaccination campaigns as vaccinated dogs die and susceptible dogs enter the population through birth or migration. This study aimed to measure the rates of birth, death and migration in a population of free-roaming dogs in South Africa and assess the implications of mass rabies vaccination in the population.

An initial census of an owned dog population in a community in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa was conducted from July to October 2011. The census was combined with a house-to-house rabies vaccination campaign. Following the census, repeated visits at regular intervals over a 24-month period to all households within the study community were undertaken. Demographic events, that is, …

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