Canine rabies is a serious health problem in Morocco and about 22 human deaths are reported yearly. Following the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, Moroccan authorities evaluated oral rabies vaccine baits specially designed for dogs.
Materials and Methods
The study was performed in Tiflet area. The vaccine strain was SAG2, a modified live oral rabies vaccine strain. Each bait contained an aluminium/PVC capsule filled with a liquid. Two kinds of baits were used: placebo baits containing methylene blue as a topical marker and vaccine baits containing vaccine suspension. The study was performed according to recommended WHO strategies, i.e., door to door model (DDDM), hand-out and wildlife immunization model (WIM). The DDDM was performed in the rural area of Tiflet on 60 owned dogs. The hand-out strategy was tested on 15 stray dogs. The WIM was performed on 4 transects lines near Tiflet slaughterhouse and near the weekly traditional market location.
Using the DDDM, 100% of owned dogs were attracted by the baits and 77% ate the bait. Using the hand-out model, 100% of dogs showed interest in baits and 46.7% took the baits. Using the WIM in stray dogs, up to 73% of baits disappeared and 68% of the capsules containing the SAG2 vaccine were found pierced, depending on the sites of distribution.
This pilot study showed that baits have a good palatability and that oral vaccination of both owned and stray dogs is feasible with baits specifically developed for dogs and with adapted strategy of distribution.