5.6.4. Has the programme had an impact on human rabies deaths, bite exposures and demand for human post-exposure treatment?

The reduction/elimination of human rabies death is the final goal of any dog rabies control programme. Often, residual human cases constitute the only indicator of the maintenance of dog rabies or its reintroduction in a defined (geographic or administrative) area.

Hospital records of human rabies cases and exposures from suspected rabid animals (during pre- and post- canine vaccination campaign periods) are useful indicators of the relationship between mass dog vaccination and human rabies. In areas where no hospital records are available information may be gathered by household surveys as explained here.

Information on human rabies cases can also be recorded by other means such as death records and verbal autopsies by specialists. The number of Human vaccine doses administered can be used can assist in evaluating the cost-effectiveness of dog vaccination compared to the prevention of human rabies through human rabies post-exposure prophylaxis only.

Analyses of data obtained from any unvaccinated areas compared to the target (vaccinated) areas can also be carried out, but care needs to be taken to interpret data from different areas.

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Photo courtesy of the Serengeti Carnivore Disease Project

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Version 4 - last updated May 2017