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Journal of the South African Veterinary Association

Print version ISSN 1019-9128

Abstract

VAN SITTERT, S J et al. Rabies in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa - where are we going wrong?. J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. [online]. 2010, vol.81, n.4, pp. 207-215. ISSN 1019-9128.

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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