In Chad, as well as in many other African and Asian countries, rabies continues to be endemic. Actions against the infection in humans are limited to providing bitten persons with Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). However, for long-term rabies control the spread of the disease has to be interrupted in the domestic dog population.
The objective of our studies was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of rabies control through dog vaccination prior to engaging into a rabies elimination campaign in N'Djamena, Chad. With the introduction of immunofluorescence diagnostic methods at the Laboratoire de Recherches Vétérinaire et Zootechnique de Farcha the incidence of canine rabies in N'Djamena was determined. All isolated viruses belonged to the Africa 2 group.
Two pilot vaccination campaigns showed that it is possible to reach over 70% vaccination density in the city's dog population, as long as the vaccination was provided free of charge. On the basis of the determined rabies incidence in the dog population and the number of bitten humans, a human to dog transmission-model was elaborated This integrated "One Health" approach, assessing human and animal health simultaneously, revealed that the costs of the strategy with PEP alone will exceed those with an integrated dog vaccination campaign after a period of 6 years.
The aim of our present studies in N'Djamena is to attempt eliminating rabies by dog mass vaccination in an African city and to validate the transmission model. The outcome of this research project will serve as an example for the control of rabies in other African cities.