Prevention and control of rabies

Effective control of rabies in dogs requires the immunization of a large proportion of the dog population over a period of several years to reduce the contact rate between rabid and susceptible dogs to a level too low to sustain rabies transmission within the population.

Parenteral vaccination programs in developed countries have been effective in preventing rabies in dogs. This has resulted in a marked reduction in the incidence of human rabies and post exposure rabies treatments. Read more about Parenteral Vaccination.

Parenteral vaccination of pet dogs is not effective for rabies control in countries with large numbers of stray and ownerless dogs as an insufficient number of the total dog population is vaccinated.

In India an attempt to control rabies was made through programs to exterminate the stray dog population. This method proved ineffective. The stray dog population is so large that new packs of dogs quickly moved into areas where dogs had previously been eliminated.

An integrated approach to rabies control

To effectively control rabies in countries with large numbers of stray dogs the following is suggested:

The promotion of responsible pet ownership to dog owners:

  1. Parenteral rabies vaccination of owned dogs.
  2. Sterilization of pet dogs.
  3. Unwanted dogs should not be abandoned.

Animal birth control - attempts should be made to sterilize the stray dog population or other methods of birth control should be investigated.

Suitable infrastructure for garbage disposal - to prevent the accumulation of waste in and around residential areas. This attracts stray and ownerless dog packs to these areas.

Vaccination - Sufficient and affordable cell culture vaccine should be available for post exposure treatment.

Mass oral vaccination of the stray dog population. Read more about Oral Vaccination.

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