Vaccination coverage and epidemiological parameters of the owned-dog population in Thungsong District, Thailand

Wandee Kongkaew, Paul Coleman, Dirk U Pfeiffer, Chongmas Antarasena, Anyarat Thiptara
Preventive Veterinary Medicine 2004 August 30, 65 (1): 105-15
Canine rabies vaccination is delivered in Thungsong District, Thailand, as an annual campaign between March 1 and 31, and also at other times through private veterinary clinics, para-veterinarians and health-care staff residing in the villages. The current questionnaire-interview survey was conducted between June 23 and July 18, 2002 to determine: rabies-vaccination coverage amongst the owned-dog population; basic dog-population information; and community awareness about rabies. The modified expand programme on immunization cluster-survey method was used to collect information about dog demography and management characteristics. Household knowledge about rabies and sources of rabies information were assessed. Vaccinated dogs were identified from vaccine certificates or owner reports confirmed by vaccinators. Seventy percent (95%CI 62-78) of 364 eligible owned dogs were vaccinated within the 6 months prior to data collection. Of these 255 vaccinated dogs, 44, 21, 13, 17 and 5% were vaccinated through the annual vaccination campaign, veterinary clinics, para-veterinarians, other vaccinators and owners, respectively. Fifty-four percent of households owned dogs. The sex ratio in dogs was 2 males per female; the dog: human ratio was 1: 4.6 with an average of 0.9 dogs per household (1.7 dogs per dog-owning household). Most dogs roamed freely and these were less likely to be vaccinated compared to dogs being kept on premises or on a leash. Almost all households were aware of rabies and the need for dog rabies vaccination as a control method. Seventy-six percent believed that rabies only occurred in summer. There was little awareness about cat rabies amongst households. Vaccination coverage in the total dog population clearly has not yet reached the 80% target level set by Thailand's official rabies-control programme. Improved effectiveness of the owned-dog rabies-vaccination campaigns in each community is needed-perhaps by more community education about dog management or by better management of ownerless dogs.

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