Urban epizootic of rabies in Mexico: epidemiology and impact of animal bite injuries

T R Eng, D B Fishbein, H E Talamante, D B Hall, G F Chavez, J G Dobbins, F J Muro, J L Bustos, M de los Angeles Ricardy, A Munguia
Bulletin of the World Health Organization 1993, 71 (5): 615-24
From 1 July 1987 to 31 December 1988, a total of 317 animals (91% of which were dogs) were confirmed to have rabies in Hermosillo, Mexico. The median age of rabid dogs was 1 year, 69% were male, and 98% were owned. The epizootic started in the southern areas of the city, rapidly involved the entire city, and persisted mainly in lower socioeconomic status areas. The area of the city and mean household size were significant predictor variables for the population density of rabid dogs around household clusters (Poisson linear regression, P < 0.001 and P = 0.03, resp). Approximately 2.5% of city residents were bitten by dogs in 1987, with the rate of reported dog bite injuries being positively correlated with mean household size and the proportion of households that owned dogs. Visits to the city health centre for evaluation of possible exposures to rabies increased by 135% after the start of the epizootic; approximately 273 per 100,000 city residents were administered a full or partial course of rabies post-exposure prophylaxis in 1987. Children were at greatest risk for exposures to rabies, accounting for 60% of all reported animal bite injuries evaluated at the health centre. Also they were more likely than older persons to have received bite injuries to the head, face, and neck (odds ratio = 21.6, 95% confidence interval = 5.4, 186.5).

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