Emergency response using oral rabies vaccination of dogs –field data from Namibia demonstrate high efficiency

Dog-mediated rabies is responsible for tens of thousands of human deaths annually, and in resource-constrained settings, vaccinating dogs to control the disease at source remains challenging for various reasons. Currently, rabies elimination efforts rely on mass dog vaccination by the parenteral route. While oral rabies vaccination (ORV) of dogs is primarily considered a tool to increase herd immunity, particularly by targeting free-roaming and stray dogs, here, we are showcasing an ORV-only approach as an emergency response model. Using a third-generation vaccine and a standardized egg-flavored bait, we assessed the effectiveness and vaccination under field conditions in the Zambezi region of Namibia. During this trial, with four teams and within four working days, 3097 dogs were offered a bait, of which 88,0% were considered vaccinated. Teams managed to vaccinate, on average, over 20 dogs/h, despite using a door-to-door vaccination approach.

The favorable results both in terms of bait acceptance and successful vaccination as well as field applicability and effectiveness further support the great potential of ORV in dog rabies control programmes.



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