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News Article

Rabies control in stray dogs in India: oral baits evaluated

The oral bait handout method could be used as a supplementary activity to parenteral mass dog vaccination activities

Oral rabies vaccination could help curb the spread of the disease in countries with large populations of stray dogs, research suggests. Three times as many dogs could be vaccinated each day when compared with injectable techniques, researchers report in Vaccine: X.

Experts from Mission Rabies, the Worldwide Veterinary Service and the University of Edinburgh assessed the feasibility of the approach in Goa, India. The oral rabies vaccine is not yet licensed for use in India so the team embedded empty capsules in dog food to test the concept.

Working with the Government of Goa Animal Husbandry Department, teams on mopeds searched for free-roaming dogs, delivering capsules in an attractive bait. Each member of the team reached 35 dogs each day, compared with just nine using current vaccination methods.

They accessed 80 per cent of the dogs they spotted, compared with 63 per cent when only using the catch-vaccinate-release method.

“This kind of operational research is crucial in pushing the boundaries and finding a solution to the age-old problem of rabies. Dog populations vary, so it is essential that methods are evaluated methodically. We are excited that this approach could have far-reaching benefits,” said Professor Mark Bronsvoort from The Roslin Institute.

As well as being more efficient, the researchers estimate that the combined vaccination approach could be cheaper, helping to further maximise limited resources.

There are an estimated 100 million stray dogs in India. Experts say that the combination of an injectable and oral vaccination approach could help them reach the minimum 70 per cent vaccine threshold needed to minimise risk of the disease being passed to people.

Researchers hope the study will provide evidence to support the introduction of the oral rabies vaccine in India as an extra tool in efforts to eradicate the disease.

“Rabies has a massive impact on societies, not only from the disease, but also from the fear that results. In many parts of the world, reaction to rabies cases fuels inhumane mass culls of dogs, which does nothing to combat the virus. We are showing that there is another way that benefits dogs, people and nations,” said Dr Luke Gamble, Founder, Mission Rabies.

Read article: Oral bait handout as a method to access roaming dogs for rabies vaccination in Goa, India: A proof of principle study by A.D. Gibson, G. Yale, A. Vos, J. Corfmat, I. Airikkala-Otter, A. King, R.M. Wallace, L. Gamble, I.G. Handel, R.J. Mellanby, B.M. de C. Bronsvoort and S. Mazeri, published in Vaccine: X, online 1 March 2019, doi: 10.1016/j.jvacx.2019.100015

Article details

  • Date
  • 15 April 2019
  • Source
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Subject(s)
  • Dogs, Cats, and other Companion Animals