Oral and parenteral rabies vaccination campaigns by veterinary students and staff in urban Kusadasi, Turkey

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In urban Turkey dogs may be difficult to handle.

In urban areas of Turkey, dogs are difficult to handle for parenteral vaccination and a combination of approaches is often required to control rabies in these areas. In urban Kusadasi, house-to-house surveys were conducted prior to vaccination campaigns to determine the number of owned dogs and the vaccination coverage, which was estimated to be <40%. For the campaign, the area was subdivided into 8 sections and a vaccination team was selected for each section. Vaccination teams consisted also of university staff from the Veterinary Faculty of the Adnan Menderes University in Aydin, including a veterinarian, veterinary technician and two students. A coordination and back-up team was also assembled and stationed at a central location to answer any questions raised by the vaccination teams and to provide them with additional material if necessary. Vaccination teams would visit households and vaccinate every dog encountered. If the dog (whether it was restricted or free-roaming, owned or ownerless) could be handled, it was vaccinated by parenteral route, and the owner (if available) would receive a vaccination certificate. If the animal could not be restrained, it was offered a bait that was prepared on the spot: the vaccine containers were placed in local bait material consisting of minced meat mixed with bread crumbs. Discarded vaccine containers were re-collected afterwards.
The inclusion of oral vaccination strategies increased vaccination coverage considerably, with about 25% of dogs vaccinated orally. However, some difficulties were encountered during these campaigns. First, veterinary students were only available during the week and daytime, when many people are at work and dogs are locked up and unavailable for vaccination. Second, veterinary students in Turkey have often little practical experience compared to dog vaccinators/catchers from municipalities, therefore restraining/vaccination operations generally require more time, and some dogs may be lost when approached. This is particularly problematic in areas where dogs are difficult to handle, like in urban Turkey. Third, transportation and subsistence costs need to be provided.
Despite these drawbacks and while the use of students may not improve the cost-effectiveness of campaigns in certain settings, their involvement has certainly important educational and advocacy advantages.

Photos courtesy of Ad Vos.

Güzel N, Leloglu N, Vos A (1998). Evaluation of a vaccination campaign of dogs against rabies, including oral vaccination, in Kusadasi, Turkey. J Etlik Vet Microbiol 9:121-134.

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