Original Research

Census and vaccination coverage of owned dog populations in four resource-limited rural communities, Mpumalanga province, South Africa

Anne Conan, Joy A.C. Geerdes, Oluyemisi A. Akerele, Bjorn Reininghaus, Gregory J.G. Simpson, Darryn Knobel
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 88 | a1529 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v88i0.1529 | © 2017 Anne Conan, Joy A.C. Geerdes, Oluyemisi A. Akerele, Bjorn Reininghaus, Gregory J.G. Simpson, Darryn Knobel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 April 2017 | Published: 22 September 2017

About the author(s)

Anne Conan, Center for Conservation Medicine and Ecosystem Health, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, Saint Kitts and Nevis; Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Joy A.C. Geerdes, Game Rangers International in Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia
Oluyemisi A. Akerele, Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Gauteng, South Africa
Bjorn Reininghaus, Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs, Mpumalanga Veterinary Services, South Africa
Gregory J.G. Simpson, Department of Production Animal Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Darryn Knobel, Center for Conservation Medicine and Ecosystem Health, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, Saint Kitts and Nevis


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Abstract

Dogs (Canis familiaris) are often free-roaming in sub-Saharan African countries. Rabies virus circulates in many of these populations and presents a public health issue. Mass vaccination of dog populations is the recommended method to decrease the number of dog and human rabies cases. We describe and compare four populations of dogs and their vaccination coverage in four different villages (Hluvukani, Athol, Utah and Dixie) in Bushbuckridge Municipality, Mpumalanga province, South Africa. Cross-sectional surveys were conducted in the villages of Athol, Utah and Dixie, while data from a Health and Demographic Surveillance System were used to describe the dog population in Hluvukani village. All households of the villages were visited to obtain information on the number, sex, age and rabies vaccination status of dogs. From May to October 2013, 2969 households were visited in the four villages and 942 owned dogs were reported. The populations were all young and skewed towards males. No differences were observed in the sex and age distributions (puppies 0–3 months excluded) among the villages. Athol had a higher proportion of dog-owning households than Hluvukani and Utah. Vaccination coverages were all above the 20% – 40% threshold required for herd immunity to rabies (38% in Hluvukani, 51% in Athol, 65% in Dixie and 74% in Utah). For the preparation of vaccination campaigns, we recommend the use of the relatively stable dog:human ratio (between 1:12 and 1:16) to estimate the number of dogs per village in Bushbuckridge Municipality.

Keywords

dog; population; rabies; vaccination

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