Antibody response to an anti-rabies vaccine in a dog population under field conditions in Bolivia

K Suzuki, E T González, G Ascarrunz, A Loza, M Pérez, G Ruiz, L Rojas, K Mancilla, J A C Pereira, J A Guzman, M R Pecoraro
Zoonoses and Public Health 2008, 55 (8-10): 414-20
Rabies remains an important public health issue in Bolivia, South America. Public concern and fears are most focussed on dogs as the source of rabies. The objective of the present study was to assess immunity of an inactivated suckling mouse brain vaccine against canine rabies used for the official vaccination campaigns under field conditions in an endemic area of rabies in Bolivia. A total of 236 vaccinated and 44 unvaccinated dogs in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, selected using stratified random sampling, were investigated in order to obtain owned dog characteristics and antibody titres against rabies in April 2007. The proportion of vaccinated dogs with an antibody titre exceeded the protection threshold value of 0.5 EU/ml was 58% [95% confidence intervals (CI): 52-65], indicating that vaccination is likely to elicit an antibody response (odds ratio 6.3, 95% CI: 1.2-11.5). The range of geometric mean of antibody titre for vaccinated dogs (0.89 EU/ml; 95% CI: 0.75-1.04) was considered to meet the minimal acceptable level indicating an adequate immune response to the vaccine. However, the titre level was not satisfactory in comparison with the results from other field investigations with inactivated tissue culture vaccines. It is recommended for public health authorities to (1) consider modernizing their vaccine manufacturing method because the level of immunity induced by the current vaccine is comparably low, (2) conduct frequent vaccination campaigns to maintain high levels of vaccination coverage, and (3) actively manage the domestic dog population in the study area, which is largely responsible for rabies maintenance.

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