Transmission Dynamics and Prospects for the Elimination of Canine Rabies

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA.
PLoS Biology (Impact Factor: 9.34). 03/2009; 7(3):e53. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000053
Source: PubMed


Author Summary

Canine rabies has been successfully eliminated from Western Europe and North America, but in the developing world, someone dies every ten minutes from this horrific disease, which is primarily spread by domestic dogs. A quantitative understanding of rabies transmission dynamics in domestic dog populations is crucial to determining whether global elimination can be achieved. The unique pathology of rabies allowed us to trace case-to-case transmission directly, during a rabies outbreak in northern Tanzania. From these unusual data, we generated a detailed analysis of rabies transmission biology and found evidence for surprisingly low levels of transmission. We also analysed outbreak data from around the world and found that the transmission of canine rabies has been inherently low throughout its global historic range, explaining the success of control efforts in developed countries. However, we show that when birth and death rates in domestic dog populations are high, such as in our study populations in Tanzania, it is more difficult to maintain population-level immunity in between vaccination campaigns. Nonetheless, we conclude that, although the level of vaccination coverage required is higher than would be predicted from naïve transmission models, global elimination of canine rabies can be achieved through appropriately designed, sustained domestic dog vaccination campaigns.

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    • "R 0 among the domestic dog population in Asian or African countries has been reported to be 1.0–1.8 (Hampson et al., 2009; Zinsstag et al., 2009). Therefore, the number of reported cases and the months required to report the first case were estimated using this range of R 0 (R 0 = 1.0–2.0), "
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    ABSTRACT: Rabies is endemic in the Philippines and dog bites are a major cause of rabies cases in humans. The rabies control program has not been successful in eliminating rabies because of low vaccination coverage among dogs. Therefore, more effective and feasible strategies for rabies control are urgently required in the country. To control rabies, it is very important to know if inter-island transmission can occur because rabies can become endemic once the virus is introduced in areas that previously had no reported cases. Our molecular epidemiological study suggests that inter-island transmission events can occur; therefore, we further investigated these inter-island transmission using phylogenetic and modeling approaches. We investigate inter-island transmission between Luzon and Tablas Islands in the Philippines. Phylogenetic analysis and mathematical modeling demonstrate that there was a time lag of several months to a year from rabies introduction to initial case detection, indicating the difficulties in recognizing the initial rabies introductory event. There had been no rabies cases reported in Tablas Island; however, transmission chain was sustained on this island after the introduction of rabies virus because of low vaccination coverage among dogs. Across the islands, a rabies control program should include control of inter-island dog transportation and rabies vaccination to avoid viral introduction from the outside and to break transmission chains after viral introduction. However, this program has not yet been completely implemented and transmission chains following inter-island virus transmission are still observed. Local government units try to control dog transport; however, it should be more strictly controlled, and a continuous rabies control program should be implemented to prevent rabies spread even in rabies-free areas.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Infection, genetics and evolution: journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases
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    • "These distributions were derived from both natural and experimental rabies. The incubation period estimated in our study appears to be longer than that estimated by Hampson et al. (2009). They, based on observations of rabid animals in Tanzania, estimated the incubation period of rabies to be 22.3 (95% CI: 20.0–25.0) "
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    ABSTRACT: Data of 98 rabies cases in dogs and cats from the 1948-1954 rabies epidemic in Tokyo were used to estimate the probability distribution of the incubation period. Lognormal, gamma and Weibull distributions were used to model the incubation period. The maximum likelihood estimates of the mean incubation period ranged from 27.30 to 28.56 days according to different distributions. The mean incubation period was shortest with the lognormal distribution (27.30 days), and longest with the Weibull distribution (28.56 days). The best distribution in terms of AIC value was the lognormal distribution with mean value of 27.30 (95% CI: 23.46-31.55) days and standard deviation of 20.20 (15.27-26.31) days. There were no significant differences between the incubation periods for dogs and cats, or between those for male and female dogs.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Preventive Veterinary Medicine
    • "In more than 99% of all cases of human rabies, the virus is transmitted directly by dogs (Knobel et al., 2005). Canine rabies can be eliminated, as demonstrated in North America, Western Europe, Japan, areas of South America and parts of Asia (Hampson et al., 2009). Advancements in post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) mean that if a person can access the appropriate post exposure vaccination and immunoglobulin therapy in a timely manner they are likely to survive (Hampson et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Surveillance systems for rabies in endemic regions are often subject to severe constraints in terms of resources. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) propose the use of an active surveillance system to substantiate claims of disease freedom, including rabies. However, many countries do not have the resources to establish active surveillance systems for rabies and the testing of dead dogs poses logistical challenges. This paper explores the potential of using a scenario tree model parameterised with data collected via questionnaires and interviews to estimate the sensitivity of passive surveillance, assessing its potential as a viable low-cost alternative to active surveillance systems. The results of this explorative study illustrated that given a large enough sample size, in this case the entire population of Colombo City, the sensitivity of passive surveillance can be 100% even at a low disease prevalence (0.1%), despite the low sensitivity of individual surveillance components (mean values in the range 4.077×10(-5)-1.834×10(-3) at 1% prevalence). In addition, logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with increased recognition of rabies in dogs and reporting of rabies suspect dogs. Increased recognition was observed amongst dog owners (OR 3.8 (CI, 1.3-10.8)), people previously bitten by dogs (OR 5.9 (CI, 2.2-15.9)) and people who believed they had seen suspect dogs in the past (OR 4.7 (CI, 1.8-12.9)). Increased likelihood of reporting suspect dogs was observed amongst dog owners (OR 5.3 (CI, 1.1-25)). Further work is required to validate the data collection tool and the assumptions made in the model with respect to sample size in order to develop a robust methodology for evaluating passive rabies surveillance. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Preventive Veterinary Medicine
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