A question of accessibility: modelling the effects of demography and accessibility for vaccination on elimination of rabies in free-ranging dog populations in India.
Radhakrishnan S., Tamim Vanak A., Nouvellet P., Donnelly C.
A key strategy for achieving the WHO global target of zero human dog-mediated rabies deaths by 2030 is mass rabies vaccination of free-ranging dog populations, the primary rabies reservoir in endemic nations. Although India accounts for the highest burden of dog-mediated human rabies deaths, very little is known about freeranging dog ecology, demography, ownership or accessibility for vaccination. Experience from mass sterilisation campaigns in the state of Kerala suggests that a significant proportion of free-ranging dogs are difficult to access for capture or handling, raising concerns about the feasibility of achieving the WHO-recommended 70% vaccination coverage for rabies elimination. This study reports results from mathematical models of rabies transmission and control that are being built to inform fieldwork in India. The effects of varying demography, accessibility for vaccination and duration of immunity on rabies persistence and prospects for elimination will be presented, and potential strategies for expanding coverage discussed.