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Vaccine. 2003 May 16;21(17-18):1965-73.

A dog rabies vaccination campaign in rural Africa: impact on the incidence of dog rabies and human dog-bite injuries.

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Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG, UK.


Despite the availability of safe and effective rabies vaccines, the incidence of dog rabies has been increasing throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa. Here we describe a vaccination strategy that has resulted in successful control of rabies in a rural dog population of Northwestern Tanzania. From October 1996 to February 2001, four central-point dog vaccination campaigns were conducted in villages within Serengeti District with a mean interval between campaigns of 338, 319 and 456 days. Vaccination coverage of the dog population was estimated from household questionnaires as 64.5, 61.1, 70.6 and 73.7% following each of the four campaigns, respectively. The incidence of dog rabies declined significantly in Serengeti District falling by 70% after the first campaign and by 97% after the second campaign. Over the same period, the incidence of dog rabies did not differ significantly in unvaccinated control villages of Musoma District. The incidence of human bite injuries from suspected rabid dogs declined significantly in Serengeti District after dog vaccination but not in adjacent unvaccinated districts. Vaccination of 60-70% of dogs has been sufficient to control dog rabies in this area and to significantly reduce demand for human post-exposure rabies treatment. Dog-bite injuries can provide a valuable and accessible source of data for surveillance in countries where case incidence data are difficult to obtain.

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