Trends of Canine Rabies Lyssavirus and Impact of the Intensified Rabies Control Program in Davao City, Philippines: 2006–2017

Zython Paul T. Lachica1, Sherelyn A. Evangelio1, Eliezer O. Diamante1, Abigail J. Clemente1, Johanna Marie Peralta1, Lyre Anni E. Murao2, May Anne E. Mata1*, and Pedro A. Alviola IV3


1Department of Mathematics, Physics, and Computer Science
2Department of Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies
3School of Management
University of the Philippines Mindanao, Davao City 8000 Philippines

*Corresponding Author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Rabies remains a public health concern in the Philippines despite the national campaign against this viral disease. For instance, in Davao City – the largest city in the Philippines – rabies is endemic despite the implementation of Intensified Rabies Control Program (IRCP), which is comprised of mass dog vaccination, dog castration, dog impounding, and information campaigns. In this study, we report the trends of rabies in Davao City from 2006–2017, analyze the monthly pattern of rabies incidence in the city before and after the implementation of IRCP, assess the impact of IRCP using count regression models, and provide recommendations for the strategic implementation of the programs. Our result suggests that dog impounding, precipitation, and the presence of responsibly owned dogs are significantly associated with decreasing number of reported rabies cases. Thus, we recommend that, during summer seasons, the city’s impounding efforts must be intensified. Since dog impounding is resource-demanding and may cause instability in the dog population, we suggest that the city should push for the 70% minimum vaccination coverage. Finally, implementation of other interventions such as castration and information, education, and communication (IEC) sessions must be carefully assessed as well.



Rabies, a viral disease that is primarily transmitted through dog bites, results in approximately 59,000 estimated human rabies deaths annually in Africa and Asia (Hampson et al. 2015). Although the disease is 100% fatal, it is also 100% preventable through vaccination in humans and animals, which is the main intervention strategy for canine rabies elimination (Lavan et al. 2017, WHO 2015). Various collaborators such as United Against Rabies have been formed with the common goal of zero human dog-mediated rabies deaths by 2030 worldwide (WHO 2018). In the Philippines, the government passed the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007 (R.A. 9482) (PAWS 2013) mandating the local government units to ensure that all dogs are properly vaccinated and registered. The R.A. 9482, together with dog impounding and castration, and conducting (IEC) sessions were implemented to achieve the goal of rabies-free Philippines by 2020 (DOH 2012). Moreover, the government has expanded its network of animal bite treatment centers to allow easier access to treatment for bite victims (Amparo et al. 2018a). These efforts resulted in 49 municipalities being declared by the Department of Health (DOH) as rabies-free since 2017, including Bohol (Junio 2017) and Camiguin island (Paculba 2018). However, rabies remains endemic in the country over the last decade (Amparo et al. 2018b). . . . read more



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