Understanding the incidence and timing of rabies cases in domestic animals and wildlife in south-east Tanzania in the presence of widespread domestic dog vaccination campaigns.
Hayes S., Lushasi K., Sambo M., Changalucha J., Ferguson EA., Sikana L., Hampson K., Nouvellet P., Donnelly CA.
The "Zero by 30" strategic plan aims to eliminate human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030 and domestic dog vaccination is a vital component of this strategic plan. In areas where domestic dog vaccination has been implemented, it is important to assess the impact of this intervention. Additionally, understanding temporal and seasonal trends in the incidence of animal rabies cases may assist in optimizing such interventions. Data on the incidence of probable rabies cases in domestic and wild animals were collected between January 2011 and December 2018 in thirteen districts of south-east Tanzania where jackals comprise over 40% of reported rabies cases. Vaccination coverage was estimated over this period, as five domestic dog vaccination campaigns took place in all thirteen districts between 2011 and 2016. Negative binomial generalized linear models were used to explore the impact of domestic dog vaccination on the annual incidence of animal rabies cases, whilst generalized additive models were used to investigate the presence of temporal and/or seasonal trends. Increases in domestic dog vaccination coverage were significantly associated with a decreased incidence of rabies cases in both domestic dogs and jackals. A 35% increase in vaccination coverage was associated with a reduction in the incidence of probable dog rabies cases of between 78.0 and 85.5% (95% confidence intervals ranged from 61.2 to 92.2%) and a reduction in the incidence of probable jackal rabies cases of between 75.3 and 91.2% (95% confidence intervals ranged from 53.0 to 96.1%). A statistically significant common seasonality was identified in the monthly incidence of probable rabies cases in both domestic dogs and jackals with the highest incidence from February to August and lowest incidence from September to January. These results align with evidence supporting the use of domestic dog vaccination as part of control strategies aimed at reducing animal rabies cases in both domestic dogs and jackals in this region. The presence of a common seasonal trend requires further investigation but may have implications for the timing of future vaccination campaigns.