Evaluation of mass vaccination campaign coverage against rabies in dogs in Tunisia.Zoonoses Public Health. 2011 Mar; 58(2):110-8.ZP
In Tunisia, rabies continues to be considered as a serious public health concern. Very costly mass vaccination of dogs against rabies and expensive post-exposure prophylaxis are prerequisites to maintain a low level of human rabies cases. In Tunisia, the implementation of mass vaccination campaigns at the national level has undoubtedly contributed to the drop of rabies endemicity, but the overall outcome is rather suboptimal. In this investigation, we wanted to estimate the extent of the vaccination coverage in dogs in three Governorates (Manouba, Kassrine and Mednine), by collecting data through questionnaires and interviews relevant to 1470 owned dogs. When the campaign is correctly applied, as in Manouba, almost all the targeted dog population can be reached by parenteral vaccination and an almost elimination of the disease can be evidenced. However, in Kasserine and especially in Medenine, where the vaccination coverage is lower than 31%, a reservoir for the disease can be maintained. To match the official figures of vaccination coverage, we should update the statistics of the size of dog population which seems to be bigger than what is assumed. In addition, we wanted to assess the level of involvement of the local population with the vaccination campaigns by marking vaccinated dogs with necklaces and establishing later on the vaccination coverage accordingly. The highest levels of vaccination coverage can be reached in the rural regions. Therefore, the low vaccination coverage in rural areas, reported at the national level, is more attributable to the lack of human and financial resources to reach remote regions. We think that rabies control programmes in Tunisia can be successful if vaccination coverage can reach 70% in all parts of the country. The achieved vaccination coverage should be estimated after random visits in many parts of the country and by checking valid vaccination certificates.