Original Research

Rabies in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa - where are we going wrong?

S.J. Van Sittert, J. Raath, G.W. Akol, J.M. Miyen, B. Mlahlwa, C.T. Sabeta
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 81, No 4 | a149 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v81i4.149 | © 2010 S.J. Van Sittert, J. Raath, G.W. Akol, J.M. Miyen, B. Mlahlwa, C.T. Sabeta | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 May 2010 | Published: 21 May 2010

About the author(s)

S.J. Van Sittert,
J. Raath,
G.W. Akol,
J.M. Miyen,
B. Mlahlwa,
C.T. Sabeta,

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Abstract

Rabies is a growing problem in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. This study investigated dog ecology, vaccination coverage and rabies neutralising antibody levels in 203 randomly selected dogs within a local municipality in the former Transkei area. Responses to vaccination were also evaluated in 80 of these dogs. The population was remarkably uniform in size, breed and condition. Slightly over 1/5th of the population was between 6 weeks and 1 year of age, while very few dogs reached 10 years or older. According to owner responses, the Animal Health Technicians achieved a total vaccination coverage of 65 % of owned dogs over several years, but only 56 % within the previous 12 months. Only 32%of dogs had adequate circulating rabies virus neutralisation antibodies (≥0.5IU/ℓ). After vaccination, 83 % had seroconverted to this level. The magnitude of seroconversion was independent of body condition or age. This study proposes a different approach to vaccination strategies than those currently employed in certain areas of the province.

Keywords

dog; Eastern Cape; ecology; lyssavirus; rabies; seroconversion; South Africa; Transkei; vaccination

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1. Review on Dog Rabies Vaccination Coverage in Africa: A Question of Dog Accessibility or Cost Recovery?
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